Through The Static

June 10, 2008

Judge bans the word “rape” at a rape trial

Filed under: WTF — ausaydong @ 11:40 am

This is ridiculous. From the Kansas City Star:

It’s the only way Tory Bowen knows to honestly describe what happened to her.

She was raped.

But a judge prohibited her from uttering the word “rape” in front of a jury. The term “sexual assault” also was taboo, and Bowen could not refer to herself as a victim or use the word “assailant” to describe the man who allegedly raped her.

The defendant’s presumption of innocence and right to a fair trial trumps Bowen’s right of free speech, said the Lincoln, Neb., judge who issued the order.

“It shouldn’t be up to a judge to tell me whether or not I was raped,” Bowen said. “I should be able to tell the jury in my own words what happened to me.”

The judge declined comment for this story. Other judges criticized him for banning the word. But then other criminal defense lawyers defended the judge, saying to use the word “rape” would mean that the act did in fact happen. Uhhh, isn’t that for a jury to decide? In a courtroom, where it’s all about body language, evidence and language, I thought the rape victim brought up a good point.

“The judge took my words away from me.”

“How can the jury make an educated decision?” she asked.


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