I don’t usually post conversations I have with people unless there is something significant to be learned from it.
This is a Facebook conversation I had with a family attorney and assistant professor of law at the more prestigious university in my neck of the California woods on a new rape case gone bad. Why? Because it illustrates the mindset problem women face when they are raped and their cases are mishandled, not due to technical errors at the investigative stage, but in the legal arena, with elected officials who, clearly, are deficient in their knowledge and thinking when it comes to basic social ethics.
This conversation took place in social media and, while I am under no obligation to protect the identity of the party who made the comments I disagree with on what is a public forum, I am choosing to apply a minimum of protection. This was the second conversation in as many weeks that I had on the conduct of judges and prosecutors in rape cases. He took the same tack both times, defending what I feel are indefensible positions.
I then gave my interlocutor a different link, with far more facts from the case. Click here to be taken to the Heavy.com article.
It’s one thing when one disagrees on the severity of a case. It’s quite another when someone of my interlocutor’s standing and responsibility as a law professor zeroes in on the one piece of non-evidenciary material to the exclusion of all other evidence, in order to try and justify what should be unjustifiable: giving an admitted rapist probation for the violent rape of not one, but two women.
In my opinion, this person shouldn’t be teaching law at a prestigious university.
Here is a list of measures I think need to be added to the penal code by Congress:
- minimum sentencing guidelines for rape. It should be impossible for a prosecutor to offer a plea or a judge to accept a sentence of no jail time or less than 3 years for rape.
- minimum sentencing guidelines for aggravated rape. It should be impossible for a prosecutor to offer a plea or a judge to accept a sentence of no jail time or less than 8 years for aggravated rape.
- In cases of aggravated rape, safeguards should be in place to prevent the accused from having the opportunity to offend while awaiting trial. In this case, the defendant was in jail for 24 hours before posting bail, and never again incarcerated once sentenced.
Beyond what Congress can change in mandatory sentencing, there is obviously a problem with the way our institutions of higher learning turn out legal and law enforcement graduates. The requirement to complete a JD, the degree lawyers earn, should include no less than a certain amount of specific courses in social ethics and gender studies. Something should be done to ensure that those who go on to become judges get routine training in ethics and gender studies once in office.
My suggestions are by no means a complete plan. Please do feel free to add your suggestions in the comment section below.
Needless to say, we are no longer “Facebook friends.”