Monday, September 24, 2018

Autumn Is Here


  • Judge Richard Boulware wants more documents and testimony before deciding whether October 1 negligence cases should be in federal or state court. [US News]
  • This Friday, the 28th, the Federalist Society is hosting a Supreme Court candidate forum at Fogo de Chao for $20 which includes lunch and 1 CLE credit. RSVP by tomorrow.  [Federalist Society]
  • Washoe County Family Court Judge Charles Weller was fined $2500 and ordered to attend classes for his remarks about putting women "back in their place." [Las Vegas Sun]
  • In light of the discussion about the latest on the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, a local attorney, who wants to remain anonymous, wanted to share her #whyididntreport story:

#WhyIDidntReport 

In my late 20's in the 1970's, I was the victim of a sexual assault. 
 
I went out with a man twice.  He was 6' something 200 plus pounds.  I was 5'2" 125 lbs.  Night 1, he took me home.  Night 2 he took me to my home and wanted to come into my house, I said no.  He said I can just rape you.  I replied, yes, you can, you are bigger and stronger but I know where the shotgun is.  He left. 

Six months later, I was living on Balboa Island in Newport Beach.  I hadn’t seen this man since he threatened to rape me.  It was 2:00 a.m. and I heard someone trying to break into my apartment front door.  Without turning on any lights, I approached the front door.  It was him - the threat - a man who wanted to rape me. He asked to come into my apartment; he said he was having car problems.  How did he know where I lived? This was the time when you learned someone's address from the phone book white pages.  But, I never had a listed phone number so my address was not in a phone book. At that time and at that time of night, there was only 1 way onto or off of Balboa Island. The island was only accessible in the early morning hours by a short bridge.  The Newport to Balboa Island Ferry did not run at that time of night. My apartment was not convenient to either the island’s bridge or ferry (that was closed for the evening). In other words, he intentionally drove to my apartment and feigned a car problem so I would let him into my home. I wonder how long he was stalking me to learn where I lived.

I refused to let him in. He said he needed to make a phone call (this was 30 years before cell phones).  I said I would make a call for him. Who did he want me to call? He did not answer my question. With my adrenaline pumping and in high “flight or fight” mode I knew the only way to protect myself was to keep him outside - on the other side of my front door.  I grabbed a pencil from my desk in case he breached the door so if attacked, I would have a weapon to protect myself, to stab him. Still outside, he became angry and threatened to kick in my front door.  I said if you kick the door, I’ll scream.  He kicked, I screamed for my life.
 
Homes on Balboa Island are very close to one another - setbacks are sometimes inches, not feet.  Neighbor lights came on.  He left. 

I raced to my phone and called the Newport Beach police.  If you know me as a litigator, you will be shocked to learn that I was trembling to the extent that I could not pronounce or spell my own name.  I finally provided my name and blurted out my problem.  The officer assumed the nocturnal predator was a boyfriend that I was quarreling with. I slammed the phone against the wall.  This disconnected the call and the police never arrived.  
This happened to me over 40 years ago.  I remember the events vividly. Do you want to know why I didn't report?  Because I wasn't believed.  I would not be found credible.  

At the time,  I was ignored. Today, if I found this man running for office or on the verge of an appointment to a public office, now 40 years later, I would have the courage and strength to report, time and time again until I was noticed. 

20 comments:

  1. All men have mothers, many have other female relatives, and your story is moving, I wish you well, but there is a reason there are statutes of limitation, would it really be fair to that pervert to hold him responsible, I do not think so, the lesson to all is that if something happens, address it now, hopefully now you are armed and can solve any future attacks lawfully

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    1. "hopefully now you are armed and can solve any future attacks lawfully"

      That's your solution to this problem? How about men, stop grabbing women and forcing yourselves on them? How about no means no?

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    2. Yes, that would be my solution to that specific problem at that specific time, if you want to move back in time, then obviously your solution would address that, I'm on your team :)

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    3. New poster here -- how do you resolve the issue that no one wanted to help this person? If the victim could not seek help from the police, why would she have any faith in seeking redress with the "system"?

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    4. "the lesson to all is that if something happens, address it now." Like by calling the police?

      Plus, the SOL issue is conflating what's really at stake here. Nobody is saying he should be charged with a crime. This is an entirely different issue as to whether he should be given the privilege to hold one of the most powerful positions in our government.

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    5. There's a big difference between criminal liability, for which the statute of limitations should apply, and holding someone responsible who is seeking a spot on the Supreme Court or other type of elected or appointed official. We should expect integrity and good character from our government officials.

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    6. There is no SOL on rape and attempted rape in Maryland. (which I think is wrong).

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    7. I've read that Maryland generally has no statutes of limitation for any felony offense. If that's true, then perhaps they rely on equitable doctrines with case-by-case basis application as opposed to legislative line-drawing to determine when an offense is too stale to charge?

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    8. Maryland is definitely out there. They still use contributory negligence there for Christ's sake!

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  2. I am 30s male. I truly feel for my female colleagues. I grew up with a single mom and know the plight of many women, who even as professionals, have a hard time being believed or respected by their male peers. I want all men (and women for that matter) to be held accountable for their actions, regardless of how long ago it was.

    Here is another issue I have, however. Due process, and credibility. I say this only because once I was accused of "attempted" assault by a female. I was shocked, as I did nothing and complied with everything the female asked me to do at the time. When i tried to reach out to officials to get to the bottom of this, the girl already wanted to drop the issue. Despite clearing my name legally, my personal reputation was ruined. And unfortunately there are many men I know with similar stories of false accusations.

    Ultimately, while I truly want to defend my female colleagues and anyone else who has been wronged by assaulters, i also am somewhat skeptical because of the history of false accusations levied by women against men. My biggest problem, and im sure it is shared by others, is how do we reconcile the two? How can we believe those who are being for real without taking away the accused's due process? it is a fine line that i believe will be very hard for society to every balance

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  3. My wife suffered an attack 19 years ago as a freshman at a large university at the hands of a very large football player. She never reported her attack. She was afraid to make a report because the rapist was a star on the team, she had been drinking with fake ID, she didn't want to be examined medically and she felt she was partly responsible for talking to him. I don't understand the entire rationale but I accept it. Sadly, we probably all know someone with similar history. As a father of 2 girls, I'm hopeful they never have to suffer.

    The decision to withhold historical accounts of women about the behavior of a nominee until the 11th hour of the evaluation of Kavanaugh was wrong and indefensible. This latest political game is only more evidence of a broken system of government. I voted for HRC but things like this make Trump's deep state narrative sound right. It minimizes the accuser's claim and makes our institutions look bad. I'm ready for AI government.

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    1. How is a person's decision to come forward, even at the last minute, "wrong and indefensible"? Maybe it took the person until the "11th hour" to have the courage to speak up?

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    2. The Committee had a letter in July detailing her version. It's wrong and indefensible for the Committee to wait and reveal the letter last minute.

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    3. A member or maybe a few members of the committee had the information, on condition that her identity remain anonymous for as long as possible. The committee as such didn't have the info.

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  4. I wonder if the Judge Weller situation is a case of people pretending to misunderstand something so they can indulge and justify their moral indignation.

    He was commenting that people should be concerned that the funding, in the current budget, is being gutted for the Violence Against Women Act, and that this is an attempt to put women back in their place.

    Someone at the meeting asked something to the effect "and what is our place" and he, quite unwisely, responded "in the kitchen and bedroom."

    Quite unwise and stupid, but was it outrageous? All depends on intent.

    My understanding is that when he responded by saying "the kitchen and bedroom" that he was commenting on the apparent intent and philosophy of the budget cutters, and not offering his own belief on the subject.

    After all, he was selected as head of the Domestic Violence Task Force, which would suggest that he certainly does not hold these odious views.

    So, if he meant what he said, or did not take the opportunity to clarify what he meant, he deserves what he got and more. But if instead he was commenting on the apparent priorities and believes of the budget cutters, then the comment, although unwise and somewhat stupid, seems by no means outrageous or reflective of his own belief system.

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    1. I am glad to see the ethics commission actually doing their job.

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  5. The whole question of "what to do about sexual assault" is hard for me as a criminal defense attorney. As a general rule, I feel like our system is way too harsh on people accused of crimes, and is excessively focused on retribution to the detriment of rehabilitation or deterrence. But in the specific case of sexual misconduct, it's a really serious and pervasive problem (depending on which study you look at, something between 1/6 and 1/3 of all women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, not to mention about 10% of men). And the system is arguably too lenient toward sexual misconduct (not so much once it gets into court, but like the essay above says, cops frequently ignore this stuff, or don't bother to follow up in any way.) So those two impulses conflict for me.

    I do think this is a really good article from that perspective, attempting to sketch out a way of reconciling those two true premises. But it's a really hard situation, from a professional perspective.

    https://www.currentaffairs.org/2017/11/can-penitent-sexual-predators-ever-be-granted-redemption

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  6. That's the double problem. Women understandably hesitate to come forward because it is such an unpleasant(even traumatizing) experience.

    But then that gets dramatically compounded by the fact that the relatively few who commit to pursue this, and essentially be re-victimized, discover that very few people care, and many doubt their story, or pretend to doubt it because they don't want to deal with the problem or otherwise help the victim.

    The system is not user friendly. It has the effect of discouraging victims from coming forward, as opposed to encouraging them.

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  7. My daughter was molested by a family friend when she was 3 years old. She told me, her mother, what had happened and I rushed her to a doctor. The police were called and my child was taken to the child sexual assault department at Sunrise Hospital. She and I waited in a bare hospital room for 7 hours before a doctor finally arrived to examine her. A police officer then told me that I was the prime suspect, and that I would be contacted by both CPS and a detective from Metro's child sexual abuse unit. The detective did not call us for 30 days. The CPS worker assigned to the case went out of town and I had to call her 25 times to get an appointment. When my older children were interviewed by the detective, they were asked, "Your mother did it didn't she?" Metro spent less than an hour interviewing the man who actually molested my child. The detectives said that since she was so young, there was nothing they could do because she would not be a very good witness. That was 9 years ago. In those years, she has described the size of his penis, and she has stated that he warned her that if she told anyone, he would spank her. You wonder why victims do not report sexual abuse? Because the authorities make a point of terrifying the victim and her family rather than building a case against the perpetrator.

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