Monday, July 21, 2008

Man Arraigned In Rape Case Where DNA Cleared Another Man

From Boston.com:

The DNA that had cleared Anthony Powell, 38, of Boston of rape eventually led prosecutors to Jerry Dixon, 35, who was arraigned yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court in the same rape case, along with one other. [...]

In 2004, investigators searched an FBI database that linked four unsolved Boston rape cases but did not reveal a perpetrator. Based on the forensic findings, a Suffolk grand jury indicted an unknown subject, listed as John Doe, for three rapes that occurred in September 1989, March 1991, and July 1991. [...]

Authorities said Dixon was matched this summer to each of the four cases when he submitted to mandatory DNA testing before being released from the Suffolk House of Correction.

This case brings up many important issues about general procedures which get talked about and studied by groups which are dedicated to the wrongly convicted and by so-called pro-men groups which love to slander girls and women who report being raped. However, issues like statutes of limitations for rape -- the reason 3 cases were charged to John Doe -- are often neglected because those limits benefit defendants. Or at least they seem to.

If older rape cases which were committed before rapists realized they were leaving important evidence behind are filed away because the statute of limitations has expired -- even though a match was later found as in these cases -- then those rapists are likely to remain free to commit crimes where an innocent man may be placed under suspicion or even charged.

If a stranger rapist, who benefited from the statute of limitation, rapes and then kills an innocent man's girlfriend without leaving detected DNA that man who just had someone he cared about raped and murdered will suffer even if he is never formally charged or named as a suspect.

He's innocent and many people are focused on his needs but his girlfriend was raped and murdered by someone who should have been in prison. To me that doesn't seem like an outcome which benefits him in any way. It certainly doesn't seem like an outcome which supports justice.

This outcome doesn't seem to be a good outcome for any innocent man. Yet many people fight those like me who want to eliminate the statute of limitations for rape because they claim that removal would be bad for innocent men.

I blogged late last year about the Kansas Supreme court hearing an appeal which sought to reinstate charges against a man on death row who was originally charged as John Doe in multiple cases because of the statute of limitations in that state. But the court ruled that those indictments were not specific enough while upholding the general legality of John Doe indictments. So if Douglas Belt has his current murder conviction overturned for any reason, including procedural errors, the 7 rapes associated with him will be meaningless.

Dixon was previously charged with rape in a 1996 case in Newton but was found not guilty, prosecutors said. He also faced similar charges in Roxbury District Court in 1999, prosecutors said, but those were dismissed.

These charges against Dixon which did not result in convictions raise more questions which are often overlooked by those who focus only on the criminal justice system from the defendant's perspective. The key one is that rapists who get away with rape will likely continue to commit crimes and their real crime victims who did report them will face the wrongful suspicion that they filed false police reports.

This is a taint which many of those who focus on innocent men in rape cases actively contribute to because the outcome seems to support common claims about all those women who lie about rape.

If the supposedly innocent man is later proven to be a serial rapist, most of these people will not apologize to the innocent women they attacked and they certainly won't apologize to those who became crime victims because a guilty man wasn't convicted.

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posted by Marcella Chester @ 9:59 AM   0 comments links to this post

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