Justice is a two way street. Sometimes getting there is not an easy endeavor. When any victim has to testify against their accuser it can be brutal and oftentimes the victim is re-victimized as a result. That being said, defendants in this country are guaranteed certain legal procedural rights, and one of them is the right to face their accuser. It says so in the Constitution so I’m not just making this up. In the Steubenville case, subpoenas were issued to juveniles living across the river in West Virginia. One of the subpoenas was issued for Jane Doe. I think my confusion here is — shouldn’t the state have issued a subpoena to her? And if not, perhaps this is why Mr. Madison was compelled to do so. I’m not an attorney, but I would think that her testimony is essential for BOTH sides of this case.
On Friday Hancock County Judge Ronald Wilson rejected the subpoena requests and cited no legal case from anywhere in the country to support the argument that the three West Virginia juveniles could be compelled to testify but stated in his 4-page ruling that Ohio and West Virginia law differ in their comparisons of a juvenile delinquency proceeding and a criminal trial.
“The proceeding in Ohio is not a criminal action — it is not a criminal prosecution — and it is not a criminal proceeding.”
Wilson added that there is no law his court follows which gives him the right to honor the Ohio request for the subpoenas. How does this not create a legal conundrum because Mr. Madison’s client has a constitutional right that is being denied him?
Madison said that the victim’s testimony was central to his client’s case and would involve her recollection of her actions before and after the incident, including what she told hospital staff, her friends and a text messages she sent to one of the accused boys after the incident.
“My client has a constitutional right to confront his accuser,” Madison said. “He has to have the right to call witnesses on his behalf.”
With regard to the text messages that Jane Doe allegedly sent – it has been discovered through social media that her phone went missing for a few days. Translation: She did not have possession of her cell phone. I have many questions. Questions that started me on this journey for the truth back in August. Here are a few that come to mind with the news of denying the subpoenas.
- What date did the text message allegedly sent from Jane Doe take place?
- Is it possible that Trent Mays may have sent the text himself?
- How would anyone be able to prove that this occurred since it is rumored that no phone records/ping info or social media was subpoenaed?
- What is it that was told to hospital staff and could this information implicate others?
I agree with Mr. Madison. Both defendants have the right to confront their accuser as well as call witnesses on their behalf and if it is true that other witnesses are going to invoke their Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate themselves to avoid prosecution – how will this affect the entire trial?