Posts Tagged gang rape

What Happened to Due Process?

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?

 

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Big Red Players Accused of Rape & Kidnapping

For anyone who has lived in the Ohio Valley area, they know that high school football is a very important part of the culture of that area.  High school football Friday nights are a source of entertainment for young and old.  The local television stations even curtail regular programming to run the games live.  To an outsider, it seems a bit over the top.  I mean, it’s HIGH SCHOOL football for crying out loud.  Not the NFL or college, but high school.  Big Red football stadium looks like it could be a college stadium complete with press box and big lights.  Football IS the Ohio Valley and the student players are treated like  sports royalty.

Two 16-year old football players from the Steubenville Big Red football program were charged with rape and kidnapping charges this morning in Jefferson County, Ohio and are being detained in the juvenile detention facility on those charges. On August 11 a female student from a neighboring school was  brutally raped by members of the football team she met at a party.  Not only did they rape her, but videos were made of the rape and posted on Youtube, and from what I have been able to determine by some of the tweets that I have read, they were also being posted on Twitter.   On August 14, she and her family made a police report to the Steubenville Police Department.

Prosecutor Jane Hanlin had said she will step aside in prosecuting the case because she personally knows some of the juveniles named in the investigation. An official determination is pending as to whether she will ask the Ohio Attorney General’s office to take over the prosecution.  In my opinion, if she knows the juveniles, then she should do the right thing and step aside so there are no claims of impropriety based on her relationship with the boys or their families. 

I have been following the twitter accounts of many of the football players and students about the attack, and quite frankly am a bit shocked that some of them are supporting the boys.  This was tweeted about the victim.  “You supposevly [sic] get “raped and tweet happy shit #idontgetit #dumbbitch and was retweeted by one of the football players.   What is a rape victim SUPPOSED to do after a brutal attack?

The boys have not been publicly named and the local news WTOV Channel 9 has turned off comments for any of the news items they post about the incident.  Odd, huh?   In the state of Ohio, the law says that the names of people charged with crimes, even juveniles, are public information, however, the names of the players have not been released by the media.  There is no reason why their names should not be released to the public.  They videotaped and photographed their crime – in my opinion, that’s a slam dunk case.  They have the smoking gun.  They brutalized their victim further by posting images and video of the attack for others to view.  The video has since been pulled, but WHO does this?  What normal person would even consider that posting the brutal rape of a young girl is something that should be shared with their peers?  Do they think because they are Big Red players that the rules don’t apply to them?

It amazes me how society places a higher value on athletes than it does for the people who protect and give their lives for our country.  [author redact - thank you to those posting factual links to base my opinion on.  I do recognize that I am not always right, and would never want to be.  I appreciate the dialogue and the opportunity to educate myself.  Learning is part of growing as a responsible adult.   -p]

I’ll be following the Big Red rape story to see how this one plays out.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ee_vppni_W4]

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