Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Defense Attorney Provides Backhanded Support For Victims Right To Say Rape

From MPN Now about a rape trial going on in Canandaigua, New York:

Courtroom tensions erupted late Friday afternoon in the trial of accused rapist Preston Wido, with his defense attorney threatening to have a court security guard arrested and the judge, in turn, threatening to hold the attorney in contempt of court.

The scene unfolded just before 3 p.m., minutes after the jury was let out of the Ontario County courtroom so District Attorney R. Michael Tantillo and the defense attorney, John Parrinello, could debate whether certain evidence would be admissible.

While the prosecution witness — one of Wido’s three alleged rape victims — was still seated, the argument began, with Parrinello at one point highlighting previous testimony that she had willingly performed a sexual act on Wido in the weeks before the alleged rape — only Parrinello used crude, street language to describe the act, drawing out both Tantillo and the judge, William Kocher. “What Mr. Parrinello just did was outrageous in the presence of this witness!” Tantillo shouted, calling it “abusive,” “harassing,” and “disgusting.”

Parrinello fired back, “You know that’s what happened — I’m not making it up... I have a right of free speech.”

Anyone who supports Parrinello's legal right to use this language inside a courtroom must also support the legal right of rape victims to use their own choice of words for what was done to them during their testimony including using the word rape or these people are not in fact supportive of fair trials.

If those who oppose alleged rape victims saying "rape" also support any of this defense attorney's inflammatory language then they do not in fact support the presumption of innocence argument which is used to justify restricting witness testimony.

Parrinello used language which clearly and unashamedly presumed the guilt of his client's alleged victims. That presumption makes a criminal allegation: Filing of multiple false police reports.

For too many people this presumption is acceptable or even commendable because it helps those accused of rape. What these people forget is there is a difference between a defendant's legal rights and their selfish best interests.

The selfish best interests of rapists is to get away with rape and to spin all legal victories as proof that they not only aren't guilty but that their victims are the real criminals. This isn't justice and it works directly against the best interests of public safety.

Parrinollo has, beginning in jury selection, used prejudicial words with clear intent to slander his client's alleged victims through bigotry (they didn't call 911, etc.) rather than relying on the evidence in the case to prove his client's guilt or to fail to prove his client's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Unfortunately, this judge let him get away with a defense based on building prejudice against the alleged victims in this case until this latest attempt at slander and intimidation. Frankly, with his pattern of behavior this attorney should have been held in contempt of court for his behavior rather than merely being threatened with contempt charges.

Lastly, if these tactics are acceptable in rape trials then they must be acceptable for all crimes against people who are not strangers. If you loaned your car to a friend for a 15-minute errand and that person disappears with your car, then using the logic of Parrinello if you eventually report your car stolen you have filed a false police report and if the case against your friend goes to trial you should be subjected to the Parrinello treatment.

After all what kind of person sees their car stolen and doesn't immediately call 911?

Fortunately, for car owners that sort of nonsense will be rejected by most jurors and most members of the public as the nonsense it is.

When it comes to rape too many people accept nonsense and call it reasonable doubt or proof of innocence.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 11:18 AM   0 comments links to this post


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