Some judges are fucking nuts.

Nutso Judge Brown

That’s the plain and simple of it. 

I am freakin’ LIVID about this case. Reposting the article from Feministing, this story looks like a blatant case of judicial overreaching and abuse of power. If the Georgia Supreme Court does not hear this case, a gross miscarriage of justice will have occurred and I am going to freak out. 

Woman appeals sex assault case to state Supreme Court:

Melanie Ross thought Daniel Day, her college classmate, was fun and a decent date – until they were having sex and she told him he was hurting her. She asked him to stop – and he didn’t. After that, Ross broke up with Day, and avoided him.

Unfortunately, that didn’t stop Day from raping her a month later.

Her lawsuit against Day is now on appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court, in part because of the victim-blaming actions of the trial court judge. Judge Phillip Brown, despite a Georgia rape shield law, compelled Ross to disclose every person she had ever dated, or engaged in any sexual activity with, including their names, dates of interaction, and contact information. This evidence was supposedly to show “consent;” the actual purpose was to humiliate the victim and discourage her and other victims from pursuing these cases. Under Georgia state law, and federal law, a victim’s sexual history with third parties is supposed to be irrelevant. The result of this case is that any victim who brings a civil claim for sexual battery in Georgia must be prepared to discuss all of her previous sexual partners. The judge ultimately found Ross was not raped in part because, as all that testimony showed, she was not a virgin.

Every first-year, first-semester law student knows about Rape Shield laws. Even many lay persons know that you can’t ask certain questions of an alleged rape victim in court. Every second-year law student knows about the rules of evidence and what cannot come in regarding rape and sexual assault cases. So why is it that this judge totally disregarded STATE and FEDERAL law? He’s an idiot, that’s why. Rape Shield laws exist to protect the victim. See, even if you’ve been sexually active, hell… even if you’ve been a slut your entire life, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get raped. The Federal Rules of Evidence tells us that courts must exclude the kind of evidence whose probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial effect. Meaning that, no matter how “good” this evidence is to your case, it can’t come in if the information would unfairly prejudice the jury. A person’s sexual past would do that. Most people, even if they don’t want to admit it, would think differently of a woman with several sexual partners who claimed rape than a woman with only one past partner. My point is that the judge chose to ignore BASIC legal rules and procedure. He is an asshole. 

The trial court judge not only dismissed Ross’ claims – he ordered her to pay $150,000 for the court costs of her attacker. The judge found there was no evidence to support her claims of rape, in large part because Ross did not remember anything from the encounter: “There’s no witnesses in there. There was no evidence. It’s a closed door. And there’s no possibility that there could be any proof that there was rape…”

Are you kidding me? Order HER to pay costs? So now when I go to Georgia, and say I’ve been sexually assaulted, if the judge just isn’t into believing me, well now I’m out a shitload of money for even bringing it up? WOW. Just wow. Clearly, this judge has some issues of his own. I believe that his own personal feelings about women and rape have eclipsed his duty to uphold the law and that is both illegal and unethical. 

This was after the judge had dismissed the evidence: Ross could have received lacerations and redness documented in a rape kit from shaving, and “[b]ruises can come with a bump into furniture or from other causes.” As far as the claim that Day gave Ross a rape drug, defense counsel responded, “neither Day, nor anyone else for that matter, would have to use any type of drug to convince Plaintiff to participate in sexual conduct.”

Read that again. Yes, defense counsel is insinuating that Ross’ prior sexual history indicates that she was so EASY, that no one would have had to drug her to get into her pants. THE NERVE! How this poor woman sat still in the courtroom without lighting that place on fire, I’ll never know. The very nature of the various rape drugs makes it such that you cannot remember most of the encounter (if any). Usually, the drugs leave your system very quickly, making them undetectable by drug tests. 

The judge found that since Ross and Day had previously had a sexual relationship, Ross should have known her claims were “frivolous… there was no reasonable belief that a court would accept Plaintiff’s claims…”

Because we all know, of course, that someone you know or with whom you’ve had sex before cannot EVER possibly rape you! (please feel the sarcasm radiate from your screen). 

The nightmare of this case, for Melanie Ross and for all future rape victims in Georgia, is that she was forced to discuss in elaborate detail her sexual past, and then she had her claims dismissed in part because she wasn’t a virgin. Moreover, not only did Ross lose her case, the judge fined her $150,000 for bringing it in the first place – a fee sure to dissuade other victims from coming forward with their own claims. This case is currently being appealed to the Supreme Court of Georgia, which can choose to hear it or not – let’s hope they right this wrong before it hurts more victims.

Sweet Jesus. 

 

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4 Comments

Filed under Now I'm pissed, Pay Attention!

4 responses to “Some judges are fucking nuts.

  1. Jessica

    Well, pertaining to the Rape Shield, this was a civil case. So, in Georgia, the shield does not always apply when money is involved. It is quite common for a judge to ask for the disclosure of sexual history when a case involves a boyfriend and girlfriend. In this instance, he probably wanted to know the couple’s sexual history, as it may have been very relevant.

    Pertaining to the bruises and abrasions, I found out on other posts and court documents that there was a dime-sized bruise on her lower back (only one) and a 0.5cm laceration above her anus. Apparently, in Ross’s deposition, she said that she could have caused that from shaving in that area. She also said that it could have been caused from “wiping too hard”. There was redness located around her vagina, but it was consistent with consensual intercourse. The truth of the matter is that if the rape kit was ever positive, this case would be in CRIMINAL court, not civil court.

    I saw this post on feministing.com (they have changed some of their wording, by the way) and it really upset me at first. However, when I looked into some of the details, I was more upset at the girl’s attorney, Amanda Farahany, for being such trashy counsel. A federal judge who was working on the same case, but against the school the couple attended, called her “sloppy” and said she “never let anything like a rule” bother her. Something else to keep in mind is that the judge did not dismiss this case because of Ross’s sexual history. He dismissed it because, if I’m understanding the documents correctly, there was no evidence. The rape kit was negative. All of the court documents showed that, so I’m not sure where people are getting this information that it was positive (someone said she had been sodomized?). Either way, this whole case sounds fishy. Bourgie, I’m a die-hard feminist. However, I will not automatically believe every woman’s cry of rape. Let’s be real here. There are plenty of women who falsely cry rape. That has been established. I can’t think of anything that pisses me off more. My sister was a victim of rape and is still too scared to come forward about it because she’s afraid people wont believe her. Ross, in my opinion, is trying to get into her exboyfriend’s pockets, and in the process is hurting my sister. Her attorney, like the judge ruled, should have known better than to pursue a case where there was no evidence. The two of them are hurting true rape victims, and I can’t stand it.

  2. Herb

    This old reptile has repeatedly taken the law into his own hands to a point of even removing custody of a child, and unlawfully gave custody to an unfit parent; he admitted that he had no jurisdiction to do so, but wasn’t going to respond to any of the motions to vacate and reconsider, filed by the Plaintiff’s Attorney: Veronica E. Brinson.

    The Defendant was said to be bi-polar and not getting treatment, admittedly violent( attempting to stab the Plaintiff in the face w/ a butcher knife just feet away from their infant child) and the report of violence was clearly verified per a sheriff’s report w/ a Military witness, and the U.S. Department of Defense Clinical Review Committe’s determination (in writing,) submitted to the Court; the Defendant also admitted to seeing a Military Psychologist for help as well. The Plaintiff also accused the Defendant of child abuse of a child from a previous marriage, but with all the evidence against the Defendant, Judge S. Phillip Brown denied jurisdiction AND ordered the infant child to the Defendant, all because of biasedness towards non-military citizens, gender, race, and alleged religious differences.

    The kicker: The Defendant’s Attorney, Nancy Atkinson, accused the Plaintiff of being a “Nuwaubian” (as if religious affiliation makes a difference! Shouldn’t Jews, Jehova’s Witnesses, Catholics, Muslims, and other non-christian religious people have a right to their child if they are fit, and not proven to be unfit?,) as to inflame the Court’s known biasness against “Nuwaubians”, and hoping for a quick judgment…well it worked..

    Heck, according to a sheriff’s report, the Defendant’s attorney took it so personal that she had no defense at all against the Plantiff, that she went to the Plaintiff’s apartment complex and demanded that the apartment complex manager take her to the Plaintiff’s apartment and car, and told her that the Plaintiff was a Nuwaubian, that the Plaintiff is crazy cult member, and other non-sensical things, presumptiously in an attempt to start trouble to report to the local authorities, only it backfired when the Apartment Manager and the Plaintiff called the Sheriff on her, and made the report of harassment.

    So for all you kooks out in Macon looking to win a custody case, make sure your attorney accuses your spouse/kid’s parent of being a so-called Nuwaubian, along with having Judge Brown preside, and you’ll win your case!….

    Even if your the parent with no criminal history, the parent with college education, the parent with a job and didnt have acusations of violent bahavior, adultery, and psychological issues, or the parent with existing siblings of the child wanting to live with your kid that your fighting for custody of…..you will still loose in Bibb County, with Judge Brown.

  3. Lawson

    I’m confused. What did the defense attorney take personally? You said she won, right? Why did she take it upon herself to go to the apartment complex? This doesn’t make any sense. Also, there had to be a reason for allowing custody to the defendant. What was the court’s opinion? There had to have been some reasoning behind it. If the defendant is a woman, then it’s almost certain that she would gain custody.

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