WI def atty's intimidate sex assault victims using motion to expose their mental health records

Reply Sat 13 Aug, 2016 05:03 am
WI def atty's intimidate sex assault victims using motion to expose their mental health records
PC about mental disorders is considered censorship of speech. But here is one of the awful consequences of prejudice/stereotypes of people with mental disorders being incompetent regardless of their dx. That myth works its way into the legal system and people who have a mental health dx have it used against them.

It's hard to figure out how to shrink this to 4 paragraphs as the story isn't pubished in paragraphs, and really the story is hard to grasp as a snippet. The article is important enough to be read in it's entirety: http://host.madison.com/7dd4137f-4f97-501d-9e88-aa2f682d2b0a.html

...The motion is commonly used in sexual assault cases, and is a common problem, said Rusch.

“Defendants are all over this,” Rusch said. Rusch, who has 29 years of experience as an assistant district attorney in Dane and Kenosha Counties, estimates that this motion was filed in at least 15 percent of the sexual assault cases she litigated.

Other prosecutors across the state have seen it frequently filed.

“We saw it when I was a prosecutor in Milwaukee, I saw it very frequently in the sensitive crimes courtroom, and the way it was being litigated was a deep concern to me,” Thurston said. “In my opinion this topic is a deeply troubling one ... I see this being resorted to by the defense very often.”

Rusch believes these motions are being filed more often.

“Case law was better for us in terms of privacy rights in the late 90s and early 2000s than it is now,” said Rusch. “I think we’ve embarked down a dangerous road and a more slippery slope for sexual assault victims' privileged records.”

Karofsky agreed that Wisconsin has strayed from the original intentions of Shiffra, and the threshold to access records has been effectively lowered.

"The law is dynamic, it's ever-changing and sometimes we need to correct the course, and I think that's where we are right now,” Karofsky said.

Sometimes a simple PTSD accusation can lead to an in camera review, said Karofsky, which is especially troubling because PTSD is relatively common in victims of sexual assault.

“What we see is cases where someone is suffering from PTSD and courts say, ‘Oh this victim has PTSD and she must not be able to tell the difference between fact and fiction,’” Karofsky said.

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Reply Sun 14 Aug, 2016 01:27 am
Did you have to use abbreviated journalese? When I saw "WI def atty" I initially read it as "WI deaf fatty".
Reply Sun 14 Aug, 2016 02:24 am
I thought it was an abbreviation for wifi, which I assume is an abbreviation for something important.
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Reply Sun 14 Aug, 2016 07:42 am
@bobsal u1553115,
The right of a defendant to question his accuser is a core part of our democracy. It is a civil right.

There are two sides to this issue.

I am wondering if Bobsal read "To Kill a Mockingbird"?

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Reply Sun 14 Aug, 2016 10:31 am
@bobsal u1553115,
Thank goodness that the laws in this area are changing. Slowly, but there is definite improvement.

We've seen changes in Canada in the past six months. The Ghomeshi case woke a lot of people up and things changed as a result.
Reply Sun 14 Aug, 2016 12:00 pm
The issue here is the right of a criminal defendant to get a fair trial... particularly the right to question your accuser. This continues to be a foundation of civil rights in both Canada and the United States.

I don't know exactly what EhBeth thinks the Ghomeshi case has to do with the Wisconsin issue. He was acquitted. I checked... I don't see where the laws are changing in the area of rights for criminal defendants.

I would also be interested to know what either Bobsal or EhBeth think should be the right of a criminal defendant to defend himself or herself.

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Reply Sun 14 Aug, 2016 12:09 pm
@bobsal u1553115,
There are two types of outrage from the left. They are contradictory.

- In half the outrages, particularly in the Black Lives Matter movement, the issue is the rights of the accused. The principle is that someone accused of a crime is "innocent until proven guilty", and the rights of the accused to defend him or herself including questioning the accuser are paramount.

- In the other half of these outrages, people are upset that the accused are getting too many rights. Bobsal and EhBeth have listed two example

You can't have it both ways.

Personally, I think that in a free democracy, the rights of the accused must be protected. It is written in to the US constitution (and I think Canada's Constitution too).

Going by internet outrage, it seems that people want to base the rights given to a criminal defendant on whether a certain crime meets a political narrative. I don't think this works in a modern democracy.

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Reply Sun 14 Aug, 2016 12:22 pm
Wow! I am just reading about the Ghomeshi case. I can't believe that EhBeth used that example to make a point in this thread.

The Judge acquitted Ghomeshi because the alleged victims lied under oath and had large discrepancies in their testimony. The standard for acquittal is reasonable doubt, and showing that witnesses are unreliable is a pretty strong example of reasonable doubt.

I don't know what else to say here.

If alleged victims of a crime are to be believed 100% of the time, even when there are inconsistencies in their testimony... why even have a trial?

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