Monday, June 02, 2008

Defense Attorney Uses Trick Question To Try To Get Charges Dropped

The Morning Call has a story about charges against former Kutztown University athlete James Vanderbeek.

What caught my eye was the defense attorney's strategy during the hearing over the charges being filed.

''Did you have sexual intercourse with Mr. Vanderbeek?'' [defense attorney Maureen] Coggins asked the alleged victim. She replied that she had not.

Coggins then asked that the charges be dismissed. Greth denied the motion. Coggins then asked that the alleged victim take the stand again for a clarification. The alleged victim then testified that she had engaged in sexual intercourse, but that it was not consensual.

I believe that Coggins' question was a deliberate trick question where either answer, yes or no, would lead the attorney to ask that all charges be dismissed based on the alleged victim's testimony.

Being raped is not equal to having sexual intercourse with your rapist. This defense attorney knows this or she isn't qualified to represent her client.

I wonder if Coggins is now hoping to use this trick question and the 2 answers (neither of which disprove the criminal allegations) as a way to try to "prove" that the alleged victim gave contradictory answers when it was the defense attorney's question which was contradictory.

Anyone who learns of these questions and claims to not understand the core problem with the defense attorney's question is either lying or that person isn't good at logic when it comes to sex, rape and the difference between the two.

Hat tip: SAFER blog

Update: To "Jame's Good Friend For Years": If you are going to make criminal allegations, you need to provide your legal name (with enough information to verify that you are who you say you are). If you aren't willing to be legally responsible for your claims then they will be viewed as nothing more than slander and you paint yourself as someone who supports unfounded allegations.

Also, if this defense attorney was trying to ask the alleged victim if the sex was consensual, all she had to do was ask, "Did you have consensual sexual intercourse with Mr. Vanderbeek?"

It doesn't take a law degree to figure out the difference between a trick question and a clear one.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 8:37 AM   0 comments links to this post


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