Rape, Child Molestation Allegations Would Require Outside Corroboration Under Ridiculous New Hampshire Bill

The legislation would create a higher standard of proof for sexual assault than for other violent crimes.

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Jess Edwards/Facebook

In New Hampshire, those who commit rape or sexual abuse without witnesses present could be all but guaranteed to get away with it under a new proposal from state Rep. William Marsh (R-District 8). The measure, House Bill 106, stipulates "that a victim's testimony in a sexual assault case shall require corroboration" when the defendant has no prior sexual-assault convictions. It does not elaborate about what kind of corroboration would be sufficient.

Marsh told the Concord Monitor he drafted the bill, introduced last week, after hearing about the conviction of Concord psychologist Foad Afshar, who was found guilty of sexually assaulting a young client. Marsh's daughter thinks Afshar is innocent, and Marsh said he "trust(s) my daughter's judgments of people."

He just wouldn't want jurors to trust his apparently impeccably intuitive daughter if she were assaulted and no one else could confirm it…

As Amanda Grady Sexton, Concord city councilor-at-large, points out, Marsh's bill "would be saying a victim's sworn testimony isn't good enough, even if it's been viewed as credible by 12 sworn jurors." In other words, it would be creating a higher standard of proof for rape and sexual assault than for any other crimes.

Republican Rep. Jess Edwards, the legislation's co-sponsor, said he is backing the bill because he fears a "chilling effect" among adults who volunteer with children. "I'm concerned those adults won't want to get involved after learning how easy it is to be put in jail," Edwards told the Monitor.

Here's hoping other New Hampshire legislators quickly nip this nonsense. Preventing a theoretical decrease in children's-charity volunteers isn't worth making it easier for people to get away with rape and child abuse.

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  1. And if the witness is a woman her testimony is worth 1/4 of a man’s testimony….

  2. I understand the objection to this law. It basically goes against the entire jury and criminal system. That said, however, it is not an unreasonable or crazy idea. Juries and especially prosecutors have a pretty sorry record in determining the credibility of people claiming to be victims of sexual abuse. More innocent people are convicted of sex crimes that probably any other crime.

    1. Then why not require physical evidence? Requiring an independent witness seems ridiculous. I think requiring additional evidence besides the victim’s testimony might be reasonable. The problem is how to define additional evidence. I can see any definition getting twisted in all sorts of directions.

      Also, do you have a citation for your claim that more innocent people are convicted of sex crimes than other crimes, or is that just your gut feeling?

      1. Then why not require physical evidence? Requiring an independent witness seems ridiculous

        The law wouldn’t require physical evidence. ENB is not characterizing it accurately. It requires “corroboration” which can be another witness or physical evidence and is a very low bar for the government to meet.

        1. ENB is not characterizing it accurately.

          Lie harder.

          1. Which part of that is a lie? Did you forget your meds again Mary? You know this never ends well for you.

        2. Why not apply this to any crime that involves a victim who is also the sole witness? Why create an exception for sexual assault cases?

          1. I think you could. But you apply it here because Children are not as reliable witnesses as adults. Why is it unreasonable to say that we will not convict someone on the word of another alone unless there is some evidence showing they are telling the truth?

            1. It’s applied to both children and adults here

            2. According to ENB, the law applies to adults as well. But again, even if sexual assault is the obvious one, there are other instances where children could be sole witnesses to crimes (e.g. non-sexual abuse). Carving out a specific exemption for sexual assault cases doesn’t make sense based on the reasons provided.

              1. Sexual assault is special because it is the one crime that we don’t know if a crime has even occurred before we charge someone. In fact, determining if the crime occurred is the entire point of most trials for sexual assault.

                So it is reasonable to require some evidence that the crime even occurred in addition to the victim’s testimony in a sexual assault case where you wouldn’t in other cases where the existence of the crime is not at issue.

                1. “Sexual assault is special because it is the one crime that we don’t know if a crime has even occurred before we charge someone.”

                  What? That is definitely not true.

                  1. You are right. It is not the one crime. But it is a very peculiar crime in that we can have an entire trial where all of the physical facts are not in dispute and the entire dispute is about the state of mind of both the victim and the accused.

                    It is possible to convict someone of theft on their word alone and without any other evidence that the property even existed or didn’t belong to the defendant? Technically yes, but that would never happen. People have often been convicted of sexual assault on the word of a single victim without any evidence they even had sex much less it was rape.

                  2. If I go to the police and say “A guy stole my wallet”, they aren’t going to charge anyone without first doing a cursory discussion with me to determine if my wallet was in fact stolen.

                    If she goes to the police and say “He raped me”, shouldn’t the police at least attempt to determine whether or not a crime was even committed? IOW what if she had consensual sex with him, and later decides to go after the guy. Or afterwards regrets having sex with him. But, it seems to me we have prosecutors arresting and charging men before they have even demonstrated a crime was committed.

                    1. I could be wrong, but I think that police generally do want some corroborating evidence of a rape before going and arresting someone. If it comes down to he said/she said, there is always reasonable doubt.

                2. Theft? Maybe it belonged to the accused. Maybe the owner lost it and the accused found it.
                  Arson? Maybe it just caught on fire. Shit catches on fire.
                  Murder? Maybe the deceased died naturally. People die.
                  Rape? Maybe it was consensual.
                  Libel? Maybe it wasn’t a lie.
                  Fraud? Maybe the representations were true.

                  No, sexual assault is not singular as you’ve described it. And the law says nothing about the age of the alleged victims.

                  1. You are going further in the process than I was. Sexual assault can be accused without even evidence that sexual contact took place. In all the other examples, there something that corroborates the victim’s testimony. My wallet is in the other guys pocket. My house burned up. The guy died.

                3. Theft? Maybe it belonged to the accused. Maybe the owner lost it and the accused found it.
                  Arson? Maybe it just caught on fire. Shit catches on fire.
                  Murder? Maybe the deceased died naturally. People die.
                  Rape? Maybe it was consensual.
                  Libel? Maybe it wasn’t a lie.
                  Fraud? Maybe the representations were true.

                  No, sexual assault is not singular as you’ve described it. And the law says nothing about the age of the alleged victims.

                  1. Oh, you are so wrong! It is as if you have never heard of the very popular and long running Law and Order:SVU Sexual victims are special, because they are. It is right there on the TV!

        3. “It requires “corroboration” which can be another witness or physical evidence and is a very low bar for the government to meet.”

          I think that’s the problem people are having trouble with–is getting past the idea that this isn’t already required.

          When you’re convicted of a crime, it’s supposed to be beyond a reasonable doubt and it’s supposed to be unanimous.

          Beyond a reasonable doubt and unanimity means there should be some corroborating evidence–if it’s just “he said, she said”, then there shouldn’t be enough evidence to convict beyond a reasonable doubt.

          If this standard were applied to campus rape cases investigated internally by universities, we’d probably all agree it was a good idea–because they don’t use the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard and Title IX enforcement has made it seem like that standard is somehow misogynistic.

          I agree that jurors should need to evidence or some kind of independent corroboration to convict someone beyond a reasonable doubt, I’m just not sure requiring that legislatively is the answer. If someone were wrongly convicted by an especially obtuse jury without any corroborating evidence, I would hope 1) the judge would take that into consideration during sentencing and 2) that situation would be rectified on appeal.

        4. Good I wasn’t the only one reading it that way.

          Seems like a perfectly necessary and reasonable law when phrased that way. It’s basically saying that victim testimony alone with no physical evidence or other witnesses does not meet the burden of proof no matter what the jury thinks. I think we can all agree in a just system some evidence of a crime having been committed must be presented beyond one person saying that it happened.

          1. “It’s basically saying that victim testimony alone with no physical evidence or other witnesses does not meet the burden of proof no matter what the jury thinks.”

            That should already be covered by “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

            That should already be covered by unanimity.

            “I think we can all agree in a just system some evidence of a crime having been committed must be presented beyond one person saying that it happened.”

            I don’t know that’s true in all situations.

            Testimony is evidence. Weighing the credibility and importance of evidence is what juries are for. I do not know that there are no situations in which testimony is sufficient evidence.

            I know of a minister that got away with raping one of my friends when we were kids–despite her testimony. He raped again and again after that. This law probably wouldn’t have impacted him because he had been convicted of rape before.

          2. It should be hard to convict someone of murder without a corpse–otherwise, there probably should be reasonable doubt that the victim is actually dead.

            But I don’t know that there is no situation in which someone should be convicted of murder despite the absence of a corpse.

            Reasonable doubt is the proper standard in all situations.

            Testimony may be sufficient evidence in some situations.

            1. You can be convicted of murder without a corpse. You can’t be convicted of murder because one witness says you committed murder and provides no evidence of the existence of said murdered person, your presence in the location they claimed the murder occurred, or really any circumstantial evidence that someone has been killed and you were the one to do it.

        5. Child molestation often doesn’t leave any evidence that *can* be corroborated and a child on their own doesn’t have much of a chance to get people to believe them if the abuser is in the right strata of society or has the right friends.

      2. The same FBI study the progressives like to cite indicating 2-10% of rape accusations are provably false also indicates rape accusations are false more often than any other accusation of physical crime.

    2. Problem: there seems to exist a trend, especially evident on college campuses, of requiring an unreasonably low burden of proof in order to determine guilt in sexual assault cases.

      Solution: require an unreasonably high burden of proof instead.

      I wonder how Rep. Marsh plans to celebrate the last few days of everybody not finding out about his sex dungeon full of kidnapped hookers.

      1. I don’t think this is an unreasonably high burden of proof for the reasons I explain below. Children are not reliable witnesses. It is not unreasonable to say that their word should be taken with the same level of reliability that the word of an adult is.

        1. Children are also extremely easy to manipulate into giving statements that indicate molestation by interviewers looking for it. There’s been cases where interviewers have pushed children towards saying they were molested and validate them when they respond affirmatively, which results in the child just continuously doing that until you suddenly have a Satanic child rape ring that doesn’t actually exist.

          1. Yep. I went to that preschool.

            1. That explains a lot.

        2. Then when should we take their word? After they have committed suicide on Facebook because they were being sexually molested?

          1. Then when should we take their word?

            Depends on what we’re gonna do about it. We should initially take their word enough to further investigate. We shouldn’t take their word enough to toss somebody in jail absent further corroborating evidence.

            IOW, there are steps to be taken before we haul Uncle Perv off to the Pen based on little Johnny saying that Uncle Perv touched his weenie.

            1. Clarification: I think this is a stupid law, but the idea that “he said, she said” could get somebody sent to jail is appalling to me.

              1. When I finally confronted my mother if she knew what had been going on for all those years, her response was “I probably did, but I didn’t want to know.” Other adults did nothing. Then school officials did nothing. Then the police did nothing. “He said, she said” went absolutely nowhere. I started running away at 14 and finally got away for good (2,000 miles away) at 16.

                What kind of corroboration would you think was sufficient?

                1. More than what you have furnished.

                  1. And it went on for years. Again and again. And then later to my sister. And to two other kids we know of and no way of knowing how many others. What should have been done? What kind of proof do you require? How do you propose to be able to get it? Do you think it’s right that he was able to get away with it his whole life and not a damn thing anyone could do about it unless he screwed up (which he never did)?

                    1. I’m serious – does anyone have any actual answers? What *would* be a sufficient standard of proof for what I went though? He was always very careful and also very violent if you crossed him. A classic controlling psychopath (When i finally did get into therapy many many years later, that’s what they classified him as most likely being from my description – not that that made any difference one way or the other). But always (at least until into my teens) careful not to leave scars or bruises where anyone could see them. Even then he had lots of friends in high places – hell, he was the stock broker for a lot of them and the brokerage office manager.

      2. is it unreasonable to set the bar higher than “I said so”?

        1. In a syllable, no.

      3. “Problem: there seems to exist a trend, especially evident on college campuses, of requiring an unreasonably low burden of proof in order to determine guilt in sexual assault cases.

        Solution: require an unreasonably high burden of proof instead.”

        Well, there was going to be a backlash. This is why so many causes of the Progressive Left piss me off. There are real environmental problems, but after the Left’s bullshit charges blow up it’s going to be damn hard to discuss the real problems without being dismissed as another lying nut. There are real issues with police treatment of the poor, but when Black Lives Matter gets exposed as the race pimps that they are, it’s going to be hard to get any real reform.

        The Day Care Sex Abuse Witch Hunt and the on campus kangaroo courts have ruined lives. This is the inevitable reaction.

        Dear Feminists; when you find yourselves raped and humiliated and you can’t get anyone to listen to you, please remember that it was your own exaggeration and mendacity that caused that, K?

        1. Isn’t there some story, a parable if you will, about a boy and a wolf ?

    3. In terms of people who are later exonerated (which is a pretty good proxy for “innocent people who are convicted”), it’s murder, and it’s not particularly close. See p. 18 of this:

      http://www.law.umich.edu/speci…..report.pdf

      1. At the same time, more serious crimes are more likely to receive lots of attention and thus there seems to be greater likelihood of exoneration. Granted, rape/molestation is about the most serious crime short of murder that might not explain the gap between those crimes.

      2. Way, way easier to get exonerated for murder, as there is typically some physical evidence of the crime (body, weapon, etc.).

  3. Remember the Day Care Moral Panic?

    People can be manipulated in a witch-hunt; there have been countless examples of innocent people being punished, first by prosecutors looking to advance their own careers, or by clearly anti-male kangaroo courts in Universities.

    Full disclosure: I have a relative in jail for something like this, and there was evidence / multiple witnesses.

  4. Absent other evidence, the words “He raped me!”, even when uttered under oath, shouldn’t be enough to convict someone beyond a reasonable doubt. Hell, I think ENB has made similar arguments before.

    Or am I missing something here?

    1. Yeah I’m sort of unclear on that as well. I know witness testimony is notoriously unreliable, but is there any reason to believe that victim testimony is more solid? Especially in cases as fraught as sexual assault.

      1. Especially when, despite Feminist dogma to the contrary, women lie about it. Not all women who claim to have been raped, or even a substantial percentage, but I think far more than would if the consequences of being caught at it were a tad harsher.

        1. Just as importantly, they lie to themselves about it.

          When strong emotions are involved it is very easy to selectively edit the memories of the facts over time to build up a regretted sexual experience into something more than it was and all of a sudden in her mind she distinctly remembers uttering the words :No Stop” when what really happened was she wondered to herself “Is this what I really want”.

          After that point she is not even lying in the technical sense because she honestly believes she was raped. The problem is her memories of the event are faulty.

          This is why that 2% of rape accusations being fake statistic is bullshit, the 2% only covers the fairly rare cases where the woman really did make up the entire story out of nothing AND it was actually investigated by the police and they happened to find proof it never happened. Far more likely if she is making it up intentionally she goes the Jackie Coakley route and just tells her friends/family it happened and maybe ruins the guys rep on the side.

          However in cases where they did have sex and she did consent at the time but changed her mind later and honestly believes that she didn’t consent there can’t be any corroborating evidence to clear him so if he is initially convicted the chances he would eventually be exonerated are basically 0 so we have no way of knowing how often this happens but it is definitely more than 5% of rape cases IMO.

          In the cases

    2. This proposed law is almost certainly an unnecessary and dumb law, but you’re not missing anything.

      Brown is the extreme flip side of the argument, a hard left man-hating feminazi who thinks an accusation of rape should automatically confer guilt. Furthermore, she’s exactly the type of lying lowlife piece of shit who would falsely accuse a guy of raping her because he made her mad or she doesn’t like his political views or something.

      1. citation needed

      2. I can make up stuff too: “Mike M., a.k.a. Domestic Dissident, is a kind and intelligent man whose insightful contributions to this forum are greatly valued.”

        1. Can we have your universe’s version of Domestic Dissident? He sounds like a dapper lad.

      3. Sorry Mike, but unless they are accompanied by Jr High-level puns on names, I just can’t take your clueless hot takes seriously.

        1. She-Lies-abunch No-Man Been-Around.

          I don’t know. With that many syllables, you’d think I could nail this down.

      4. Congrats, DD. You’ve gone above and beyond Shriek levels of idiocy. A heretofore thought impossible scenario.

        1. The proof that Liz isn’t what he accuses her of being? She hasn’t banned his ass yet.

          1. First of all, she doesn’t have the authority to “ban my ass”. Second of all, she’s another Jayson Blair. She fabricated a cockamamie story about being detained by the Secret Service in Cleveland right here on Reason, then on Twitter she maliciously fabricated some bullshit about another journalist named Eli Lake which was shot down by almost everyone who knows him, simply because she doesn’t like his support for Israel.

            Lake should probably consider himself lucky she didn’t accuse him of raping her during one of their bowl-smoking sessions.

            1. None of which, if even true, support calling her a hard left man-hating feminazi who thinks an accusation of rape should automatically confer guilt but libel and hyperbole is your entire schtick at this point.

            2. She fabricated a cockamamie story about being detained by the Secret Service in Cleveland

              I have audio of being detained, another Reason employee who was detained with me, and an official citation (hanging on my Reason desk, in fact) from Cleveland police, you sad silly man

              1. What’s strange to me is that DD purports to respect some writers and editors at Reason. The same folks that, you know, work literally right next to me day in and day out. What is it saying about them if I am a serial fabulist and yet, for three whole years, none of my colleagues and bosses have caught on? Only he, the person who casually hate reads some of my posts, has caught on to the truth!

                1. What’s strange to me is that DD purports to respect some writers and editors at Reason.

                  He purports a lot of things. Thankfully Reasonable has taken care of that for me.

                2. To be fair, ENB, if Mikey REALLY hated you he’d have come up with a hilariously stupid nickname for you by now.

                  1. Lesbian Bowlin’ Clown

                    1. Lesbian Bowlin’ Clown

                      More stupid and less funny, though. The bar is so low it’s a travail to get under.

                    2. I’ll pass this on to Eli Lake for our next rap battle

                    3. I do not recommend that anyone click the following link.

                      Gender Bending Clowns

                    4. You had me at ‘don’t press this button’.

                    5. When Sugarfree issues a warning, it’s just gotta be bad ….

                3. Only he, the person who casually hate reads some of my posts, has caught on to the truth!

                  What is “hate reading”? Something akin to Hitler fapping to pictures of Anne Frank?

                4. It took the New York Times almost four years to figure out what Jayson Blair was doing. You’ve been here about three I think. But yes, Reason has been sadly lacking in standards and needed adult supervision for quite some time now.

                  Thankfully on Twitter practically every single media person who chimed in took Lake’s side over yours and said they’ve never seen anything like what you claimed. I think there was one guy who tried to back up what you were saying, and he did a pretty lousy job of it.

                  I have no doubt though that one day you’re going to take your act just a little too far, and that will be the end of it. Like I said before, you really should consider getting the help you need.

                  1. Like I said before, you really should consider getting the help you need.

                    You could take projection of this level out for showing movies in the park.

                    1. Hell, SETI wants to borrow that projection in order to reach out to the inhabitants of other galaxies.

                  2. I wonder when you will take your act just a little too far, and what your end will then be.

                    1. My vaguely threatening comment above is directed at the troll Domestic Dissident.

                5. What is it saying about them if I am a serial fabulist and yet, for three whole years, none of my colleagues and bosses have caught on?

                  Maybe you’re a really, really good fabulist?

                  1. Also, to be fair, I’m pretty sure I could run an illegal meth operation in Old Man Gillespie’s basement and he wouldn’t notice.

                    1. You’d have to run the grow operation and the Oxy clinic out of there first.

              2. She fabricated a cockamamie story about being detained by the Secret Service in Cleveland

                I have audio of being detained, another Reason employee who was detained with me, and an official citation (hanging on my Reason desk, in fact) from Cleveland police corroborating evidence, you sad silly man

        2. I’ve been saying it for a while now: Mike M. is Red Shreek.

    3. For the record under the Constitution, the conviction for treason requires the testimony of two lives witnesses to the same overt act.

      This is not to say that The proposed law is a good idea. But the notion of requiring corroboration to prove a specific crime is not unheard of.

  5. So Rep. William Marsh a big fan of sharia law?

  6. “It’s a victimless crime, Marge, like punching a clown in the dark.”

    1. punching a clown in the dark

      A+ euphemizing

  7. that a victim’s testimony in a sexual assault case shall require corroboration

    The Pics Or It Didn’t Happen Act?

    1. Bitches By Lyin’ Act

  8. The measure, House Bill 106, stipulates “that a victim’s testimony in a sexual assault case shall require corroboration” when the defendant has no prior sexual-assault convictions. It does not elaborate about what kind of corroboration would be sufficient.

    We know under the common law what counts as “corroboration”. A defendant’s confession cannot be admitted against him without corroboration. The reason for that is we don’t want people who are crazy or trying to protect the actual criminal confessing to crimes they didn’t commit and being convicted for it. So you have to show some corroboration of the confession. Understand, you don’t have to show much. It usually requires a showing of opportunity and ability. If I confess to murdering someone, the DA can get the confession admitted by showing that I was at the scene of the murder and was physically capable of committing it.

    ENB acts like this law requires another witness to say the victim is guilty. That is not corroboration in this context. Al l this law would do is make a DA provide evidence that the person being accused had the opportunity to commit the crime and some other modicum of evidence showing it happened. Given the horrible number of innocent people who have been convicted on the word of a single manipulated child alone, I don’t think that is a bad idea. Make them show something to gives the jury a reason to believe the victim beyond bullshit like “children never lie”.

    1. It does not elaborate about what kind of corroboration would be sufficient.

      ENB acts like this law requires another witness to say the victim is guilty.

      Hmm.

      1. In a common law jurisdiction, which includes all Federal civil and criminal matters as well as those of 49 out of the 50 states (all but Lousiana), a statute must always be read in the context of case law. The bill doesn’t have to specify what corroboration is, the courts have already done so. Moreover, even though it is a common law jurisdiction, the criminal code may have elsewhere defined corroboration or at least provided examples of it. Regardless, it falls to ENB as the author to understand these matters and present them fairly.

    2. I think John lays it out well.

      My main concern here, other than exactly what will count as corroboration, is that some flavors of sexual assault don’t leave physical evidence for any length of time. Forcible rape does, but not all sexual assault is forcible rape, including the most controversial kind – drunk/drugged rape.

      If we go with classical corroboration, as described by John, this strikes me as more in the line of due process protections for the accused. Painting it as sharia-lite War on Women stuff is premature, at the very least.

    3. OK John, just what is this horrible number? Actual or percent?

      1. Anecdotal but I know someone who was charged with buggery over a single account from one person as a teenager over a decade ago. No evidence, the person in question had a history of substance abuse and lying to the police. Jury still convicted.

      2. We can never know the true number since not every innocent person wrongly convicted is ever exonerated. But

        A 2015 review article by Reggie Yager analyzed the legal and research literatures on wrongful convictions of sexual assault. Reflecting on the Urban Institute study reviewed above, Yager noted that “a lot of our cases today are very much like it was between 1973 and 1987; they are tried without DNA evidence.” He concluded, “If 15 percent of cases tried without forensics in the 70s and 80s were incorrect, that should be a fair assessment
        of how many cases tried today without DNA evidence are also erroneous.

        http://www.prosecutorintegrity…..ssault.pdf

        15% of all cases is a pretty horrible number to me.

        1. The quote you give right before you say “15% of all cases” explicitly says it is not 15% of all cases, but 15% of cases tried without DNA evidence.

          Lie harder.

          1. Which is all the cases we are talking about here. If they have DNA evidence, they have corroboration.

            I know you are profoundly stupid, but Jesus Christ can you even try?

            1. Which is all the cases we are talking about here.

              Come on, man, even for a parasite this is just pathetic.

              1. Cry some more Mary. Please cry some more. Meanwhile, the adults are talking.

          2. First, to answer a question somewhere above in the thread:

            While long overdue analyses of the problem of wrongful convictions have been conducted in recent years, this research has focused mostly on homicide cases. Considerably less attention has been placed on sexual assault. These cases represent the second leading exoneration crime category after homicide, consisting of 23% of all exonerations in the United States from 1989 to 2012.

            Second, to answer your skepticism:

            More recently, Yager concluded that in sexual assault cases, the rate of false allegations is at least 8 -10 percent and as many
            as 40 percent of allegations may be more likely false than not.”

          3. The quote you give right before you say “15% of all cases” explicitly says it is not 15% of all cases, but 15% of cases tried without DNA evidence.

            Lie harder.

            It’s pretty clear that he was saying “15% of all cases tried without DNA evidence” since that was the whole topic of his post. Be disingenuous harder.

            1. How shocking to see you think John is clear and correct.

              1. You haven’t been here long if you seriously accuse me of reflexively taking John’s side on everything. It just happens to be the case that I tend to side against mendacious cunts that make bad arguments, like yourself.

                1. Its Mary or whichever of the band of deranged trolls runs the Mary brand these days.

                  1. I don’t think it’s any coincidence that in the last year or so PB, AmSoc and other current troll handles like Retaxes here, all claim to be a libertarian themselves while they do their thing. Do I misremember, or is their ostensible embrace of libertarianism a recent innovation?

                    1. Do I misremember, or is their ostensible embrace of libertarianism a recent innovation?

                      No, it’s an old schtick. MNG used to brag that he knew more about libertarianism than the rest of us combined. Only really joe was upfront about not being a libertarian.

                      “But I’m a libertarian!!1!” is fairly standard, making what they are doing a form of concern trolling. (“I’m really here to help!”)

                    2. @SugarFree

                      MNG used to brag that he knew more about libertarianism than the rest of us combined.

                      I don’t recall that handle, must be before my time. As a veritable commentariat historian yourself I’ll take your word for it. I guess I just never noticed this aspect of their schtick until relatively recently or they’re just playing it on it more lately.

                      @Trshmnstr

                      Rataxes is still on the bubble for me when it comes to trolling or just really bad at playing nice with others.

                      […]

                      and I’m tired of the dickwads on here who can’t make it two comments without massively escalating their hostility. It’s one thing to play in the mud with the trolls for a little while, but some commenters forget to hose off before they interact with the rest of us.

                      You hit the nail on the head, I think.

                    3. MNG outed himself as not a libertarian when he mocked tractor pulls.

                    4. is their ostensible embrace of libertarianism a recent innovation?

                      Shreek always claimed to be a libertarian. AmSock never did until recently. Rataxes is still on the bubble for me when it comes to trolling or just really bad at playing nice with others. Either way, he’s on the banned list.

                    5. Why would anyone want to play nice with John, a fedgov parasite who constantly posts lies and insists he knows what everyone else is thinking?

                  2. I’ve started using Reasonable (fascr, actually) more liberally in the past few days. AmSock got more boring, and I’m tired of the dickwads on here who can’t make it two comments without massively escalating their hostility. It’s one thing to play in the mud with the trolls for a little while, but some commenters forget to hose off before they interact with the rest of us.

          4. I know John doesn’t need me to help, but you are completely missing the context of that quote.
            “a lot of our cases today are very much like it was between 1973 and 1987; they are tried without DNA evidence.”

            So he is saying even today, many cases aren’t tried with DNA evidence.

            “If 15% of cases tried without forensics in the 70s and 80s were incorrect, that should be a fair assessment of how many cased tried today with DNA evidence are also erroneous.”

            And assuming that 15% in the 70s and 80s were incorrect (before DNA testing), the one would expect that 15% still holds true for non DNA evidence trials. It may not be 15% of ALL cases today, but if many (most?) of all cases today are still tried without DNA evidence, that that number might still be up in the double digits.

            1. Yes, it might. And John could easily have posted that. Yet for some reason he did not.

  9. If the author’s interpretation of this law is correct, I can’t see how anyone could support something like this. There is already a he-said she-said in this cases as it is

    If the assailant manages to not leave evidence or the evidence is not sufficiently conclusive then its a get-out-of-rape-conviction-free card.

    In a date rape situation, there is literally no way to get a conviction. The defendant can simply say “it was consensual. No one heard her say no.” And its case closed.

    Sure there are flaws in the current system but can someone please explain how this is better than the current regime?

    1. Her interpretation isn’t correct. “Corroboration” can include all kinds of things, not just another witness.

    2. Ok reading through your comments on this, it seems that I can see this places the burden of proof back onto the accuser rather than having the accused have to prove they DIDN’T do it.

      Rape is such that often the presumption of innocence isn’t reliably applied.

      This law seems to help those falsely accused and attackers who are careful/lucky. I’m not sure which side weighs out the other.

      1. In our system of justice, it should ALWAYS help the falsely accused, even if some guilty are careful or lucky.

        1. Yes.

  10. Let me get this straight. The bill says that the alleged victim’s testimony alone is not enough to prosecute, as long as the defendant has no prior convictions, but this is “ridiculous” and it’s “all but guaranteed” that defendants will “get away with” sexual assault. Wait, where was the part where you established that the defendants committed sexual assault? Yeah, that’s where the corroboration comes in.

    At no point does the bill say witnesses are required. Only that a single person’s testimony alone is not sufficient to prosecute. It doesn’t “guarantee” anyone “gets away with” a crime, it only requires that the prosecutor meets a slightly stronger burden of proof before proceeding to trial.

    1. Understand corroboration is a very low bar and can include virtually any kind of evidence supporting the claim. Of the universe of people accused of sexual assault and for which there is no corroboration of their victim’s statement, how many are innocent? I would say a large majority are. And of the guilty ones, how many would have been convicted on the word of their accuser alone?

      It is difficult to see many guilty people getting off under this law.

      1. It is difficult to see many guilty people getting off under this law.

        Maybe. Since we’re dealing with cases where proving guilt is already very difficult, it’s hard to say one way or another whether this law helps the guilty. But it absolutely helps the innocent. This is not an insurmountable hurdle or even an onerous burden. As you say, corroboration includes any of a number of things other than a witness to the events. And once that has been found, the case proceeds to trial before a judge and a jury exactly as it would before.

    2. It’s definitely unclear language, seeing as this argument is occurring and everyone wants rapists to go to prison and people not guilty of rape to go free.

      What does corroboration mean in a legal sense? Does the nurse who administered a rape kit at a hospital count? Eyewitness testimony, even when we know that it is very often bad? A DNA expert’s testimony?

      Is the law designed to prevent convictions for rape when there is no physical evidence that the crime occurred and there were no witnesses?

      Doesn’t it then legalize statutory rape when neither participant is willing to testify and there’s no physical evidence because they weren’t going to turn each other in?

      1. What does corroboration mean in a legal sense?

        I explain it above. It means there is some outside evidence to indicate the person is telling the truth. To take your examples, physical evidence that the person was in fact raped or if they are a child did have sex would certainly count. Testimony by a nurse that the victim was shaken or acting in ways consistent with them being assaulted would count.

        It just just mean eye witness testimony of the criminal act. ENB is way off the reservation here in implying that.

        1. To be honest, I’d prefer to hear from a lawyer about whether or not it is a term of art in law or just as open to interpretation as ENB worries.

          1. I am a lawyer. And I have prosecuted child sex cases. I can’t prove that on the internet, but if you don’t believe what I am saying, google corroboration for defendant’s confession and look for yourself.

          2. From Black’s Law Dictionary

            Corroborating Evidence:

            Evidence supplementary to that already given and tending to strengthen or confirm it; additional evidence of a different character to the same point.

            1. Asshole! African-American Law Dictionary.

      2. It would depend on what elements are necessary for the crime to exist. DNA evidence would corroborate statutory rape (i.e. rape by virtue of age) since it establishes that sexual contact occurred between a minor and an adult. A positive tox screen would corroborate date rape since it establishes that there was a lack of capacity to consent. So on.

        It’s important to note that this only matters when the victim’s testimony was otherwise the sole piece of evidence. If the alleged victim was not interested in testifying in the first place, then the corroboration requirement is irrelevant. Either the prosecution can establish probable cause without the testimony, or it can’t; this change to the law has no bearing on such a situation.

        1. I would say it would corroborate sexual assault if it showed the victim and the defendant had sex. Corroboration in the context of confession means you have to show some evidence that there really was a crime and it was possible that the accused committed it. So in the example of sexual assault, you would have to show some evidence the assault occurred. DNA evidence that the victim had sex with the accused would definitely cut it. Then you would have to show that the accused knew or was at some point with the victim such that they could have committed the crime, i.e. they haven’t been in India for the last ten years when the crime was supposed to have occurred.

        2. It’s important to note that this only matters when the victim’s testimony was otherwise the sole piece of evidence.

          Except the common case of an eighteen-year-old boyfriend of a girl who is underage in a state without a Romeo and Juliet law.

          Then it usually only takes the testimony of disapproving parent of the girl that one of the two told her they’d had sex. Given no other evidence but a convincing prosecutor, this could still result in a conviction. Sure, they’ll come up with all kinds of circumstantial evidence. The two were together without any adult supervision at the time a parent suspects sex. If the guy is dumb enough to lie to his friends about having sex (no guy ever engaged in sexual braggadocio), they’ll be found and brought in to testify to the effect. Flirtatious texts and e-mails will be trotted out for all to see.

          Even if there never was any sex, a lot of juries might be inclined to convict because of their own youthful experiences and an interpretation that the law requires them to do so if they believe the prosecution’s story.

          1. Ok, I think you’re losing touch with the thread here. For one thing, NH does have a “Romeo and Juliet law”. Also, what it takes to convince a jury is not addressed by this change to law, which only deals with what it takes for a case to be prosecuted.

  11. Your delightful sword might be oversharp on this one, dear.

  12. While there is a problem to be solved, this solution seems a bit excessive…

  13. It sounds like a dumb law, but it really describes the way things should be working already. If you have a sexual assault allegation and the only evidence is the testimony of the alleged victim with no physical evidence and no history of offending by the alleged perpetrator, then that situation should virtually always result in a failure to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Does that mean some people will get away with sexual assault? Unfortunately, yes it does. But that’s much better than the alternative in those cases, which is innocent people being convicted of felonies, sent to prison (where they’re likely to face rape themselves), and then spending the rest of their lives on a registry (e.g. completely destroying their lives)…solely because of a single convincing performance by a lying witness.

    1. Honestly, if I were convicted of rape due to some bullshit teary-eyed courtroom theater performance, I’d probably go for the bailiff’s gun, thereby triggering the hard-wired autonomic response cops have to kill me on the spot. Given that it could theoretically happen, I guess I should think of some famous last words to shout.

      Ragnarok beckons!!!

      *Bailiff empties magazine into me.*

      1. You are seriously estimating his accuracy.

        More accurately is “Bailiff empties magazine hitting the Judge both attorneys, 3 members of the jury, himself, 2 bystanders out in the hallway and leaves you with a minor flesh wound caused by shrapnel from a near miss”

  14. ENB is not characterizing it accurately. It requires “corroboration” which can be another witness or physical evidence and is a very low bar for the government to meet

    I don’t know whether this is true or not.

    But here’s the thing – it doesn’t seem that anyone else (including ENB) does either.

    The problem here seems to be “reacting to news” without actually taking the time to understand the specific implications of what the law means. saying ” It does not elaborate about what kind of corroboration would be sufficient.” isn’t really enough to justify … “Ergo, I will react as though this means what i assume it to mean”

    I’d think the bare minimum here would be to phone up the person who drafted it, and get some kind of statement of explanation. Or else their aides, or some lawyer in the state… or at least someone. (e.g. “corroborating”?)

    I agree it doesn’t sound good. but laws often aren’t exactly what they might seem to people with zero legal experience/training.

    1. “Corroboration” is a legal term of art. It means something. The fact that the statute doesn’t define it doesn’t mean that the term doesn’t have meaning. It does. And it does not and never has meant “you must have another eye witness” or “only an eye witness and not other physical evidence does not count”.

      1. i get your point. and given you’re a lawyer, i assume you’re right.

        My point was just that its a mistake to write a piece based primarily on those type of assumptions; i don’t think its any excessive due-dilligence to at least get a local lawyer to chime in before declaring a bill “pro-Rapist” or something.

  15. I guess the question I’m asking is, is there any other crime besides sexual assault crimes where the sworn testimony of the victim alone is enough to convict someone? If I go to the police and say “my neighbor robbed me, look, my TV is gone”, that wouldn’t be enough evidence to convict my neighbor. So if I go to the police and say “my neighbor raped me, look, here are my wounds”, that shouldn’t be enough evidence to convict my neighbor either.

    1. look, here are my wounds”

      I think what john was saying was that “providing physical evidence” (e.g. wounds) would itself count as corroboration. IOW, yes, that would be enough to prosecute.

      The cases that would fall short would be the ones (which there seem to be more of lately, but that’s just an impression) like Mattress Girl, where the accusation came months after the claimed event.

  16. Hell, Jerry Sandusky got away with child molestation even after there was a witness (Mike McCreary).
    But does the standard of corroboration in this law rise higher than for other crimes? I’m not aware that I can swear that Person X robbed or assaulted me or damaged my car and ran away and have them convicted without some corroborating evidence. Otherwise, just about every Ex ever would be in jail.

  17. So just accuse them of some vanilla assault. No biggie!

  18. The bill would change the current section:

    I. The testimony of the victim shall not be required to be corroborated in prosecutions under this chapter.

    to

    I. The testimony of the victim shall be corroborated in prosecutions under this chapter only in cases where the defendant has no prior convictions under this chapter.

    And the New Hampshire Governor’s Commission on Domestic and Sexual Assualt Model Protocol has three pages of evidence that count as corroboration. (Pg. 62) (PDF warning)

    1. Great link. After looking at that, I think this is a good law.

    2. Great link. After looking at that, I think this is a good law.

      1. The squirrels agree, as does STEVE SMITH

    3. The testimony of the victim shall be corroborated in prosecutions under this chapter only in cases where the defendant has no prior convictions under this chapter.

      So all the child diddling priests just get a pass?

    4. There’s actually a separate due process issue, I think, with requiring corroboration only where the defendant has no priors.

      That’s a different and lighter evidentiary standard for a defendant with priors. Classically, prior convictions are not admissible to prove guilt (if my dim memories of crim pro are correct).

      1. Yep, the fact they don’t get the same protection is bad, but I’d rather some folks get it than none.

      2. that is a good point. The problem is that they long ago decided that previous convictions for sexual assault can be admitted as evidence of guilt, which contrary to 500 years of common law. If FRE 413 is Constitutional, and sadly according to the courts it is, then this is Constitutional.

    5. Wait…the current law says “The testimony of the victim shall not be required to be corroborated ” ?!

      Sounds like “victims never lie” got codified in the law.

      1. Sounds like a statutory deviation from the common law that is simply being corrected by another statutory law.

        1. We need someone with a journalism degree from Columbia to find out how that original deviation from common law got there in the first place.

          1. That’s a tall order but if it helps, I’m sure I could find someone with a Columbia journalism degree to lie to you about it.

    6. Did you notice the one big thing there … It’s “A MODEL PROTOCOL FOR RESPONSE TO
      ADULT SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES.”

      *ADULT.* Not child molestation.

      According to those charts, there’s not a thing that could be corroborated in many long term child molestation/abuse cases. Gee, they live in the same house. Hey, kids get toys from their parents. What clothing, which time? Isn’t anyone undressed at times in their own house? Don’t kids always have disagreements with their parents? Bad kids try to get their parents in trouble. Surely someone as well respected as _____ couldn’t be doing things like that.

  19. Now we know why so many glibertarians moved to New Hampshire.

    1. To get STEVE SMITH elected to the House?

    2. Rape Free or Die

      btw, i watched a few of those Jimmy Dore videos on your mention last night.

      my reaction was basically… well, less impressed with the specific guy and his M.O., but i think it was more that, “I expect there’s going to be a lot more of this kind of stuff”

      iow, “Bernie types” who continue to bash the Dem establishment/media. my impression is that there are swaths of the lefty punditocracy who think “Bernie could have won”, and now actively work against the ridiculous narratives the establishment left is pumping (e.g. Russkies, Pepe-Nazis, etc) It seems that some of them are still trying to figure out what side to take. Everyone is still “anti-trump” but there is dissonance about how much they blame the dems themselves for losing to him.

    3. More like rapetarians, amirite?

  20. accomplice testimony also must be corroborated before it is admissible to prove guilt. Getting corroboration before a witness is permitted to testify is not unusual. Granted, that’s the accomplice, rather than the accuser, but the principle is the same.

    1. Except that, AFAIA, jurisdictions that have a corroboration requirement for accomplice testimony apply it in all categories of crimes. This law makes one specific category of crimes subject to the requirement. If the bill had simply required corroboration for all types of criminal cases, I don’t think there would be nearly the number of objections.

      1. This law makes one specific category of crimes subject to the requirement.

        No, this law removes the exception that was granted to a specific category of crimes. It helps to read the actual bill which makes this even more evident. An explicit lack of corroboration being required was struck and an additional provision was added to limit the scope only to previously unconvicted defendants (emphasis and strike-through as in original):

        The testimony of the victim shall [not be required to] be corroborated in prosecutions under this chapter only in cases where the defendant has no prior convictions under this chapter.

        The struck through portion was removed from the criminal code and the emphasized portion was added.

  21. “trust(s) my daughter’s judgments of people.”

    This should be the basis for all legislation.

    1. And it seems to be a law change based on a single case. It might as well be called Foad’s Law.

      1. Fuck Off and Die’s Law. Love it!

  22. If I were on a jury, I would almost certainly never vote to convict someone based solely on an uncorroborated testimony by the accuser. Doesn’t pass reasonable doubt.

    This law seems to be trying to codify that standard, leaving less up to the judgment of the jury.

    While leaving less to the whims of 12 random people may be a good idea for some reasons, one reason I can think of why not is that there is real variability in the credibility of accusers and accused. So, if you have an accuser for whom every detail of their story is cooroborated excepting the act itself, while the accused has lied repeatedly about ever detail of their story, one may find the accuser to be enormously more credible than the accused, justifying a guilty verdict.

    Of course that’s somewhat subjective and plenty of feminists would employ the concept to treat women as automatically way more credible than the men they accuse in such scenarios even without the slightest reason.

    1. Um, the details of the story being corroborated even if the act itself is not would likely count as corroboration as would the accused being caught lying about the details

  23. Sorry, Ms. Nolan-Brown, but if you can get John and SugarFree basically agreeing that you called this one wrong, I’m going to have to side against you. It doesn’t seem absurd to suggest that someone with no history of sexual assault should not be convicted solely on someone’s say-so.

    1. It doesn’t seem absurd to suggest that someone with no history of sexual assault should not be convicted solely on someone’s say-so.

      And I would not support a law mandating that that is the case. Just like I don’t support a law mandating that we must automatically dismiss accusations against anyone when we don’t have more than an accusation. That’s the reason we have trials

      1. Just like I don’t support a law mandating that we must automatically dismiss accusations against anyone when we don’t have more than an accusation.

        Such as a law mandating the reasonable doubt standard for a criminal act?

        That’s the reason we have trials

        Why do you say this? Does raising the standard of proof in a trial somehow preclude a trial? It’s my understanding that this proposed law deals with standards of proof once it’s actually gone to trial, which is the venue for presenting corroborating evidence to witness testimony after all.

        1. The law states
          “The testimony of the victim shall be corroborated in prosecutions under this chapter only in cases where the defendant has no prior convictions under this chapter.”

          So I would think that this doesn’t prevent a DA from bringing charges, but during the trial, he better show come corroborating evidence or the jury will return NOT GUILTY automatically.

          1. So I would think that this doesn’t prevent a DA from bringing charges, but during the trial, he better show come corroborating evidence

            Yeah that was my understanding of it as well. I’m not sure what ENB means by saying that she opposes any law mandating the the dismissal of accusations by a jury, since I highly doubt ENB opposes the mandate of “reasonable doubt” standards that juries already operate under in criminal cases.

            1. I highly doubt ENB opposes the mandate of “reasonable doubt” standards that juries already operate under in criminal cases.

              I’m starting to wonder . . . .

              j/k, ENB. Still, this was not your best work.

      2. So you are saying that if woman X accuses man Y of rape, and there is NO corroborating evidence at all (they can’t even prove there was sexual contact), THERE SHOULD STILL BE A TRIAL????

      3. But, think about what you’re suggesting here. Let’s say Domestic Dissident decides to accuse you of organ theft (I guess you stole his heart). Now, he has absolutely no evidence in support of that claim. Just his accusation. Should there be a trial?

      4. what you just said aside….

        … i think the point made was that you were construing what constituted “corroboration” as somehow ‘unknown’

        e.g.

        It does not elaborate about what kind of corroboration would be sufficient.

        when its pretty clear that there’s plenty of explanation what kind of corroboration applies.

        also – i don’t think this =

        it would be creating a higher standard of proof for rape and sexual assault than for any other crimes.

        …is technically correct either. tho i’m not sure. How many other crimes can be charged entirely on someone’s say-so? it would seem that the standards for rape/sexual assualt are already lower than most other crimes. could be wrong.

      5. Just like I don’t support a law mandating that we must automatically dismiss accusations against anyone when we don’t have more than an accusation.

        What do you think should happen in a case where a defendant with no prior history of sexual assault is accused of sexual assault, and the only evidence is the plaintiff’s and defendant’s conflicting testimony?

      6. “That’s the reason we have trials”

        ….so…you didn’t read the actual bill or existing statute prior to writing the article, did you?

        The statute applies to “testimony”. so…yeh…during the trial.

      7. I don’t support a law mandating that we must automatically dismiss accusations against anyone when we don’t have more than an accusation.

        You are saying that people should be arrested if they are “denounced”?

        I have a friend who’s life was ruined by a woman who had no corroborating evidence. Indeed, she had collected cash for previous claims. Fuck you cunt.

      8. Just like I don’t support a law mandating that we must automatically dismiss accusations against anyone when we don’t have more than an accusation

        There is no “automatic dismissal”. The cops don’t get to say “tough luck” to someone who doesn’t show up to the station without a boatload of evidence (any more than they did before, anyway). This is about what is necessary for a prosecution, not a preliminary investigation.

        Moreover, given that the next step after an indictment is to deprive the defendant of his rights, it seems quite right that there should be a higher standard of evidence than just “the alleged victim said so”.

        1. So what do you do when a child finally gets up the courage to go to the police and all they do is send them back home. There’s no evidence. It’s all in the privacy of their home. No one is going to verify anything. That kid’s just shit out of luck. Too bad for them.

  24. Notwithstanding that there may be a real problem, this is not an appropriate solution.

  25. You wouldn’t need questions of true or false testimonies if there was a state run camera in every dark alley.

    Just thinking outside the box here.

  26. I am sorry, but John is right on the money here. The reason this law specifically relates to sexual assault, is that it is damn near the only thing in which it can be difficult to prove a crime was even committed.

    “He stole my wallet”. Do you still have your wallet? Yes. There was no crime.

    “She burned down my house!” Is your house still standing? Yes. There was no crime.

    “He raped me”. LOCK HIM UP!!

  27. So let me get this straight. A writer for a “libertarian” magazine opposes a law which only strengthens (a little bit mind you) the protections for those accused of sexual assault. There is no way in which this law will throw large numbers of guilty people out on the street. All this does is make the DA come up with SOMETHING else other than “She said he did it!” That is all.

    You are asking the wrong question when you ask why should this crime be singled out for this law. The question is, why should those accused of sexual assault NOT be given the same protection as those accused of other crimes? Namely, the burden of the prosecution to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. NO OTHER CRIME would be prosecuted purely on the testimony of 1 “victim” without some measure of corroboration.

    1. A writer for a “libertarian” magazine opposes a law

      It’s not cemented in stone. Perhaps the arguments being made are shaping new considerations, forming new perspectives. Y’all are in meltdown mode over a hot take — remember, ‘Only a Sith deals in absolutes,’ (and any philosopher who searches for Universal Truths).

      My opinion on the matter is very malleable and I appreciate the insight of the Commentariat.

      1. Isn’t “Only a Sith deals in absolutes” kind of an absolute? Just curious, does your job title contain the term “Darth”?

        1. I don’t think the writer of Revenge of the Sith or the people who ascribe to ‘Cultural Relativism’ were following through on such notions to their logical ends.

          Darth Virtue?! No sir, I am a Jedi, I have the blue lightsaber to prove it.

          1. Your handle points to maybe a Gray Jedi? But I don’t think they’re cannon anymore.

            1. Very perspective, truth is I do not have the quality of character to count myself among the noble Jedi; but I have utter disdain for Evil.

              My soul yearns to be a good man, but I have never achieved my ideal self; thus the duality of my handle.

              1. My soul yearns to be a good man, but I have never achieved my ideal self;

                So you’ve fallen short of divinity. All of the best people have.

            2. Actually, they are because they are in Star Wars: The Clone Wars animated series, and that my friend is still canon. (As is Star Wars: Rebels)

      2. Y’all are in meltdown mode over a hot take

        maybe so.

        I’d argue that when it comes to matters of law, one should generally refrain from “hot takes” unless you’re a lawyer yourself. (e.g. Volokh, Popehat, etc.)

        1. e.g.

          ElizabethNolanBrown Retweeted

          Bill Piper ?@billjpiper 2h2 hours ago
          New Hampshire Republicans trying to basically legalize rape

          [insert fire emoji]

          1. LOL — hot take volcanic eruption.

          2. That’s not a “hot take” so much as a complete misrepresentation accompanied by an hysterical appeal to emotion.

  28. I never thought I’d read an article at Reason complaining that someone accused of a crime was being given too much due process. Especially given the very low standard that “corroboration” has to meet.

    1. Well, if I recall correctly, there were various cases when the accused was a cop.

  29. This is pathetic ENB. What happened to honesty in Journalism??

    You fail to report that this is a bi-partisan bill. The third co-sponsor is a Dem woman.
    You describe Ms. Sexton whom you quote as the “Concord city councilor..”, but from the Concord article you link, she is first describe as the head of the “council for sexual assault victims”. Why did you leave that part out?
    You fail to explain that this bill is nothing more than a slight change in the existing statute. This is not an entirely new ‘bill’, this is an adjustment to the wording of the bill that currently states “no corroboration is required….” at all.

    And….on top of everything….you make no effort to describe the trial that initiated this bill.
    http://www.concordmonitor.com/…..rt-4281039

    Read this and explain why it is justice that this man was convicted on the sole testimony of a 13 year old troubled boy? No one should be convicted of anything based on the claims of one person with no other corroborating evidence. How could you possibly argue otherwise?

    Pathetic.

    1. And….on top of everything….you make no effort to describe the trial that initiated this bill.

      To be fair, she did mention that particular case, albeit short on details.

      1. “describe”. She didn’t describe the trial, or provide a link. Read the case. I challenge anyone here to claim that this is how we want our court systems to operate.

        Hell, I’m surprised this case wasn’t held up by Chapman or some other hack as evidence of pasty-white America’s hatred of Muslim immigrants.

        1. I agree with you. It is a throw-away comment in passing. The only link she made is to the story about the law, which also only briefly mentions the case.

  30. Looking at a bigger historical context, let’s not forget that there are other special rape-trial-only provisions out there, namely, the prohibition on questioning the victim about prior sexual history. Which, presumably, makes getting convictions easier.

    So, I’m not super-receptive to the argument that this is picking on women because its rape-trial-only. Apparently, no one objected when we started making special rules for these trials. So, that’s not really an issue. And, I suppose, the possibility of convicting innocent people at pretty high rates in rape trials also doesn’t concern.

    So, just what is the concern here, really? Certainly not for due process. Shouldn’t be because it may result in a few rapists getting acquitted (remember “Better ten guilty men go free . . . ).

    1. So, I’m not super-receptive to the argument that this is picking on women because its rape-trial-only.

      Not to mention the studies showing that men experience “sexual assault” as frequently if not more so than women, owing to US prison system. Though as with most statistics involving sexual transgressions, I take it with a grain or two of salt.

  31. “Preventing a theoretical decrease in children’s-charity volunteers isn’t worth making it easier for people to get away with rape and child abuse.”

    After all, where there’s smoke, there’s fire. AMIRIGHT?

    X: “He said She said.”
    Y: “Well she made a sworn statement that he sexually assaulted her. She should be believed.”
    X: ” And he testified that he did not assault her.”
    Y: “How can we believe him? After all, he has been accused of sexual assault!”

    ENB you are absolutely wrong about this one.

  32. Just to pick up on the discussion above about whether there are any other crimes that require corroborating evidence.

    As a practical matter, many do, because the crime can’t occur without something visible happening – a house burning down, property being where it isn’t supposed to be, etc. But there is at least one crime where corroboration is pretty much required – murder. You can’t charge anyone with murder unless you have a dead body.

    1. You can’t charge anyone with murder unless you have a dead body.

      That’s more of a general rule that can be abrogated on a case by case basis.

    2. Is that an absolute in law? Can’t someone be presumed dead, like in a drowning at sea, and then there be charges leveled at the suspect?

      1. It’s rare but it has happened.

    3. Didn’t Reason once report on a case where a woman falsely claimed to be pregnant, and then prosecutors tried to charge her for the murder of her missing “child” on the basis that no one could find that “child”?

  33. Ok ENB I generally like your work but you are WAY off the rails here.

    Here is the thing. I don’t care what the jury thinks about how believable the testimony of either accused or accuser in a rape case is this law should STILL be passed because it should already go without saying that a complete lack of any evidence besides the testimony of a single party who is intimately involved in the case automatically creates reasonable doubt.

    There is no need whatsoever for a trial in such cases and to have (or continue one once it becomes clear that none of the other evidence is valid) one in this circumstance is a complete waste of money and resources and it is an injustice to subject a potentially innocent person to the emotional whims of a jury

  34. I’ll take it another step to try to explain where so many of are coming from here.

    Imagine a few years in the future. A Reason writer goes up to Concord to interview a bunch of people in town about some guy who evidence is emerging was wrongfully convicted of rape. He or she is talking to the judge and the DA in the case:

    DA: You have to understand, this case went to trial. Everybody agrees it was a fair trial and we gave the defendant every chance to make his case.
    RW: Well, obviously something went wrong. What was the case against him?
    DA: Here’s the thing. The victim told us he raped her!
    RW: Then I assume you must have really done a thorough investigation and gotten a lot of additional evidence, and…
    Judge: Didn’t you hear?! The. victim. told. us. he. raped. her!
    RW: And?
    Judge: And, she was real convincing.

    Now, if you were the writer on that story, what would that story look like?

  35. In my personal experience with Sex Assault cases, I’ve NEVER seen a rape case CHARGED (let alone convicted) without some sort of independent corroboration vs. JUST complainant testimony

    that’s out of DOZENS

    not one

    Not saying it doesn’t happen, and mebbe it happens more in jurisdictions where prosecutors offices are less swamped with cases.

    round these parts, all first offense felony drug possessions are diverted to misdemeanor no jail time

    primarily because prosecutors are so busy, they are willing to take a more harm reduction lessen their caseload approach

    I’ve seen plenty of declines on sex assaults and lack of evidence is the primary reason (as well as victim nondesirous)

    no corroboration from rape kit, injuries, etc. – it aint going to trial around here I can tell you that much

  36. It’s a good thing we’re not some kind of theocracy, adopting the primitive rules of (((sheeherders))) from thousands of years ago, when the concept of due process was undeveloped.

    “One witness alone shall not stand against someone in regard to any crime or any offense that may have been committed; a charge shall stand only on the testimony of two or three witnesses.” Deuteronomy 19:15

    “If he does not listen, take one or two others along with you, so that ‘every fact may be established on the testimony of two or three witnesses.'” – Matthew 18:16

      1. but again, as a practical matter – it’s rare to get guilt proven beyond a reasonable doubt with SOLELY witness testimony

        again – it happens – but I’ve been involved in scores of cases personally (as in testimony) and investigated hundreds and ive-NEVER SEEN IT HAPPEN

        in a rape, without any corroborating injury, suspect admissions, DNA, etc. etc. – JUST he said/she said – pretty frigging rare

        rare to get CHARGED let alone convicted.

        Duke lacrosse otoh…

        1. Rare where you are maybe but you note the key factor in your own comment.

          It is rare where the DA is concerned with prosecuting justice, it is actually pretty friggin common when the DA has higher political aspirations and likes using emotional cases to establish his bonafides to a sector of the electorate.

          The key is whether or not you ever get charged, if they don’t charge you then obviously you will not be convicted. If they DO charge you however then you have at best a 50 – 50 chance of avoiding conviction with a rape case because if she testifies and gets up there and cries and acts like someone who has been victimized (and remember, even if you are legitimately innocent it is frequently the case that she has convinced herself that she was raped so she is likely to be pretty convincing to anyone else) and you don’t have any exonerating evidence then you are going to be convicted.

  37. i didn’t like this bill at first, but now, with corroboration, it seems like good law.

  38. I am surprised to see this sentiment from Reason and frankly it is a little disappointing. If anything this is a step in the right direction. We are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty and a simple accusation is not proof.

  39. Here’s my testimony in parts:

    I am concerned that current law will increasingly lead to a chilling effect in which adults simply choose to not expose themselves to risk of false allegations and, therefore, withhold their support from vital community organizations and clinical practices.

    This amendment (HB 106) says that to convict someone under a first offense for sexual assault, there must be corroborating evidence beyond the accusation of the alleged victim. The bill does not specify examples of corroborating evidence but one can imagine text messages, physical examination results, the testimony of the accused and many other tell-tale facts as potentially being available for a jury to consider.

    This amendment deals with a very difficult aspect of society and one side of it is fraught with emotion and obvious direct harm while the other rests more in theory (Blackstone’s Formulation) and the harder to see indirect social costs of public policy. We all want to protect children from sexual abuse.

    We all should also want to ensure that a person cannot be convicted of sexual abuse on the sole basis of a verbal accusation of abuse. In a society that values the principle that we are innocent until proven guilty, the standards of guilt should be sufficient to avoid having the state wrongly convict the accused.

  40. The social cost of discouraging adults from engaging youth populations is extremely high. Adult leadership and mentorship is essential to guiding children through their formative years. Particularly in an environment in which there are so many broken homes, the community must adapt itself to the challenges of limited parenting to fill the gap. If we want adults to sacrifice their time and energy into helping others, we need to avoid creating unreasonable disincentives. The current law requiring only the verbal accusation of the victim without any other corroboration drives a legal wedge between those in need of adult intervention and volunteer adults.

    In short, the current law will likely cause long-term damage to our youth population by creating a shortage of adults willing to engage them. In that vaccum, government will grow. As the recent DCYF Independent Report indicates, government involvement isn’t a perfect solution.

  41. Unfortunately for the public debate, the social cost of a public policy-induced vacuum of adult volunteer engagement isn’t as apparent as the harm of a sexual abuse. However, go through the prison system or talk to those abusing drugs and tell me that there isn’t suffering unleashed in our society because there is too little adult involvement in youth development. I believe we need more adult volunteer engagement of society, not less.

    There is no perfect answer in this complex, enormous social arena. It would be an easier debate if one outcome was all good and the other all bad. This isn’t an easy debate to have though. Hopefully we can agree that we are all interested in the welfare and safe development of children. In an imperfect world, achieving that outcome isn’t obvious.

    Rep Jess Edwards
    Auburn, Chester, Sandown

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