The Rush To Judgment of the Accused
When people across the US were glued to their TVs last year during the Senate confirmation hearing of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, they were transfixed by stories of rape accusations. Don’t worry, we are not going to get into politics here, but the entire occasion brought up some things that we need to discuss, specifically pertaining to what happens to people accused of rape and other sexual assaults.
Rape is dealt with, rightfully so, with seriousness. The penalties for those found guilty are hefty, which is why anyone accused of the crime should be given a fair trial. That is the goal of our justice system. Everyone, regardless of what crime they have been accused of, should be presumed innocent until proven otherwise.
Unfortunately, we know that is not what happens. What often happens is usually a miscarriage of justice from the moment a person is arrested.
What Happens First
When you turn on your local nightly news, what is the first thing you see? Often, it is the mugshots of people in the community who have been arrested. Beside the photograph of them in an orange jumpsuit is a list of every charge they levied against them. This is often followed by something along the lines of, “If they are found guilty of all charges, they could spend 96 years in prison.”
Rarely do you hear a news anchor say, “They are innocent until proven guilty.” Really, would it even matter at that point? The community already believes the person is guilty. Prosecutors and law enforcement play this game. They throw every charge related to a crime at someone and are well aware of how the news will portray it. If it is a rape case, they want this coverage because they think it can help them when it comes to working a plea deal or getting a guilty verdict.
What happens if the person they have arrested has been falsely accused of rape?
The Battle To Clear Your Name
Studies from researchers out of Boston have shown that most women who make allegations of rape against men are indeed telling the truth. However, they do point out that research indicated that between 2% to 10% of rape allegations are false.
- 2% to 10% of rape allegations are false.
- Out of 100 allegations, 2 to 10 people have to fight to clear their names.
Depending on the exact charges, people found guilty of rape in California can face up to 3, 6, or 8 years in prison. If the allegations made deal with acts against a minor, the consequences become much harsher, including a minimum of 7 years in prison.
Is it fair for you to end up in prison due to false rape allegations?
Please know that the criminal charges and convictions could only be the beginning of the process. A rape victim can also bring a lawsuit against the alleged perpetrator for damages, including medical bills, lost wages, psychological damage, and more.
How You Can Move Forward
The most important thing to do if you have been accused of rape is to secure a qualified and experienced California defense attorney. You need someone who will listen to your story and examine the facts of the case. This includes analyzing every shred of evidence against you, the law enforcement, and the alleged victim’s statements.
There are defense routes. Depending on the situation, some possible defense strategies could be to show that:
- The alleged incident never took place;
- The acts were consensual;
- There is not enough evidence;
- The charges do not match what really happened in severity.
Find out about the California teacher accused of sexual exploitation of a minor.