Newspaper analysis highlights challenges of prosecuting alcohol-fueled acquaintance rape cases

"In the past 10 years, Douglas County juries convicted three rapists, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

In the cases, the rapists overpowered their victims, threatened them with weapons or broke into their homes.

But in the few rape trials involving a drunken victim who had been socializing with her alleged attacker, juries acquitted the accused rapist each time. More cases of this sort never went to trial, and defendants either pleaded to lesser crimes or saw their charges dismissed altogether.

...

Analysis: Some rape cases tough to prosecute

"In the past 10 years, Douglas County juries convicted three rapists, the Lawrence Journal-World reported.

In the cases, the rapists overpowered their victims, threatened them with weapons or broke into their homes.

But in the few rape trials involving a drunken victim who had been socializing with her alleged attacker, juries acquitted the accused rapist each time. More cases of this sort never went to trial, and defendants either pleaded to lesser crimes or saw their charges dismissed altogether.

...

At Law School, Is Insensitivity Grounds for an Objection?

"Attorneys belong to a profession that requires many to look squarely at the world's horrors ... They must keep their heads while witnessing awful injustices, appearing before hostile judges, or enduring profane outbursts from other attorneys or clients, all while exhausted by a long week of headaches and heartburn. Hence the alarm a growing number of law school professors feel at the trend of students objecting to parts of the curriculum that they find too upsetting. 

. . . 

Overlooking Rape

"On Tuesday New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu announced that the city would reopen hundreds of rape cases that went largely un-investigated by police.

The news came in the wake of a city Inspector General’s report released last week, which found that between 2011 and 2013, only 14 percent of the 1,290 sexual assault cases referred to the Special Victims Section of the New Orleans Police Department were investigated. Over 1,000 of those cases were reclassified as “noncriminal” events or given only a cursory write-up, with no accompanying investigation.

How a vicious cycle of skepticism keeps cops from treating rape seriously

"Barbara Bowman first publicly accused Bill Cosby of rape in 2004. But people didn't start believing her until now, when a male comedian called Cosby a rapist last month.

Bowman's story puts a personal face on the myriad reasons women are often hesitant to come forward with rape allegations. They often face disbelief, harrassment, or accusations of wrongdoing themselves. And a woman's chances of winning a conviction in a rape case are extremely low compared to other crimes.

. . . 

Investigators Discover Something Shocking About How New Orleans Police Treat Rape Victims

"A biting indictment of the New Orleans Police Department prepared by city Inspector General Edouard R. Quatrevaux alleges that five detectives in the city's special victims unit, a law enforcement division charged with investigating sex crimes, did just that for more than three years. Out of hundreds of reported sexual assaults in the city, just a handful ever resulted in proper investigations, let alone convictions.

. . . 

The Challenge of Defining Rape

Ian Urbina wrote:

"States across the country are trying to figure out how to address the problem of sexual assault more effectively, and more often than not, they are looking to redefine the scope of sexual misconduct.

. . . 

With an effort also underway by the American Law Institute to reconsider when an assault becomes rape, some legal experts predict that changes to criminal laws in many states may not be far off.

. . . 

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