Friday, November 16, 2007

Insight Into Case where Woman Allegedly Recanted

I found a post by a juror on the civil case of Eric Leon Major vs. Officer Al Anger and the City of Birmingham related to the handling of a criminal domestic violence charge which resulted from an officer witnessing Major's treatment of his ex-fiance.

The whole post is worth reading to get the perspective of a then Alabama state representative on how the police handled criminal charges (3rd degree assault initially). What I want to focus on are comments or claims about the attempted rape allegation.

At trials, Ms. Joseph alleged that Mr. Major attempted to rape her. [...] Ms. Joseph assaulted Mr. Major with pepperspray (mace) – was not arrested. [...] Observed by Office Anger: disheveled clothing, injuries to both parties, what appeared to be blood in the vehicle. [... Officer Anger] spoke with Mr. Major, was informed that he had been maced and was driving Ms. Joseph back to her car. Ms. Joseph told Officer Anger that they fought “for what seemed over an hour” and that Mr. Major tried to rape her.

If there was an attempted rape then macing someone is justified even if he is your ex-fiance. However, many people wouldn't view an aggressive ex-fiance as someone attempting rape, they would view him as trying to persuade her even if physical force is involved. Then of course there would be people who would say, "If you didn't want to have sex with him why were you alone with him?" This often turns rape or attempted rape into justified actions.

Ms. Joseph then told Officer Anger that she was not interested in pursuing the matter further (recanted). She was trying to “make it go away.”

Officer Anger states that victims’ reluctance to prosecute is a large problem. Prosecution [Major's attorney] suggests Ms. Joseph is lying, that victims who recant or reluctant to prosecute are lying.

This claim by Major's attorney is very interesting and unfortunately very common. It makes me wonder just how many of those who report rape or attempted rape are classified as recanting when they did no such thing. If upon reporting, a rape victim faces clear backlash and a clear refusal to take the allegations seriously, would a frustrated, "Forget it" from the victim be classified as recanting and therefore she would be considered to be a proven liar?

That would explain why some jurisdictions could report very high rates of false rape reports. Those who use these instances as proof that women commonly lie about being raped have found their victim-denying soul mate and like a love sick child they refuse to believe anything negative about their true love.

The problem with this victim-denying love match is that not wanting to pursue rape or attempted rape charges or giving up on an attempt to report is not recanting and is not evidence that no rape or attempted rape occurred.

If a victim of rape or attempted rape knows the chance of a conviction on that charge are slim to none, there is no practical reason for pushing for criminal charges. If the case predictably falls apart then the woman who cooperated with police is likely to be branded as a liar who should be prosecuted for filing a false police report.

Ms. Joseph told Officer Anger that she halted Mr. Major’s advances by injuring his genitalia with her hands/fingernails. [...] Mr. Major was founding GUILTY at Municipal Court. Found NOT GUILTY at the Circuit Court level. (per appeal)

Itt looks like Joseph was one of the parties being sued but was removed from the list before trial. It seems that her offense was in explaining why she either maced or otherwise injured her ex-fiance.

It's interesting that in this civil trial that Major's attorney is so focused on trying to discredit an allegation which wasn't part of the criminal charges against him. That makes it seem like they were trying to prove that Major's treatment of his ex-fiance witnessed by the police were justified. A "she had it coming to her" defense if you will.

Oh, those evil, lying women.

Prosecution [Major's attorney] refuses to recognize victim’s actions as self-defense; claims she assaulted Mr. Major and should have been arrested by law enforcement as well.

By this claim, Major is putting forth the allegation that he was maced for no reason at all and she should have been treated in sync with how he was treating her when the police interceded. What this does for me is confirm that his mindset reflects that of proven abusers.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 10:54 AM   0 comments links to this post


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