"The process of having a grand jury decide whether to bring criminal charges against a defendant has fallen under scrutiny following the failure to indict over the police deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Indeed, many activists and experts are demanding alternatives, especially in cases that involve alleged officer brutality.
Nancy Redd hosts a panel discussion featuring Amanda Tonkovich, Coordinator, New Orleans Sexual Assault Response Team; Carol Tracy, Executive Director, Women’s Law Project;
Kim Lonsway, Research Director, End Violence Against Women International, and Corey Rayburn Yung, Professor, University of Kansas School of Law.
"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.
"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.
. . .
"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.
. . .
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.
. . .
Soraya Chemaly writes about the backlog of untested rape kits and how it has contributed to a lack of convictions in rape cases across the country. She quotes Corey Rayburn Yung's research on unreported rape:
J. Schafer reported:
Carolyn Thomspon wrote, "Three-time NASCAR champion Tony Stewart will find out no later than next week whether authorities will pursue charges in the death of a driver he struck during a sprint car race in upstate New York last month.
. . .
Stewart's car struck and killed 20-year-old Kevin Ward Jr. at Canandaigua Motorsports Park during a nighttime race Aug. 9. Ward had climbed out of his car and walked onto the dirt track to confront Stewart after he spun out while the two raced side by side.
. . .
The Associated Press reported: