“A conscience is what hurts when all your other parts feel so good” – Anonymous
The accused in a criminal case are entitled to a defense, even if they are obviously guilty. They are entitled to plead “not guilty” even if they did it, because they don’t have to self-incriminate. They are entitled to have somebody stand and make a vigorous legal defense – preferably a lawyer who understands the workings of the legal system and how to address a judge/jury. (I would want this were I on trial.)
Sometimes, the defense just has nothing. I mean, there is just too much evidence demonstrating that the defendants are guilty as charged, but some crude defense must be fashioned. This is how it went down in Ohio just this week.
Back in August of 2012, two boys (allegedly) repeatedly raped a drunk girl at a high school party – or perhaps it was several parties (where they transported her around from party to party). There’s plenty of evidence, including video tape of people talking about what’s going on. The defense has nothing, and these two high-school boys are about to get rung up (rightly so). So, the defense offered the last gasp, the “gun throwing” moment: “she didn’t actually say ‘no’.” Honestly, this guy actually contends that she was “making decisions” because she chose, willingly, to drink alcohol. Presumably the rest is just a consequence of that decision?
Now, on the one hand, it shocks the senses. She doesn’t have to say “no” and the defense attorney is well aware of this. (Maybe she doesn’t have to expressly say “yes” either; I mean, it is possible the conversation never happens. Not every sexual encounter is preceded by a clear discussion of consent to particular acts. But such would only be true if she was capable of making decisions. Otherwise, one has to assume “no” until the inebriated is capable of making decisions … like the next day when she’s sobered up.)
On the other hand, the defendants are owed a defense. If this is all they have, then use it – throw the gun.
I cannot possibly imagine that such a defense will work. In fact, I honestly can’t understand why these young men entered a “not-guilty” plea. Perhaps the prosecution wasn’t offering anything in the way of a plea-bargain, since it is an absolute slam-dunk case.
I’m not sure when the trial is expected to close or render a verdict, but I doubt we’ll have to follow too closely. Either the verdict will come back “guilty” and there will be a headline somewhere that might catch the eye – or the verdict will come back “not guilty” and there will be riots in the street, a real “Rodney King” moment.