American society was dealt two huge blows this week, and I wonder whether we have noticed. In the Dominque Strauss-Kahn case, an obvious misogynist and in my mind likely rapist has provided a shining example to men who would assault women as to how to get away with it. And in the Casey Anthony case, a woman who clearly murdered her 2 year old daughter proved that even an ignorant selfish person with poor planning can get away with murder if they want to.
Let’s look at these one at a time. In the DSK case, what we have learned is that if one wants to sexually assault or rape a woman, choose someone with a history of bad behavior. Perhaps someone who has claimed rape before (and didn’t prosecute, or did but lost), or someone with a drug possession record, or even a single girl who has had multiple boyfriends over a period of time. Because if you choose one of these, and then you have a quality attorney, you can proceed to destroy that woman in court and get away with your crime. You can air every fault, every mistake, every intimate liason your victim has ever had, and even pull some from your own imagination, and you can then jump on your First Class seat to Paris.
Imagine being a woman raped by someone famous and/or wealthy. What do you do? You see cases like the DSK one (and so many others) and you say to yourself, “why should I file charges? I will be the one put on trial, not the rapist, and it will consume my life for years. Recalling the things I’ve done, nothing too bad but I’m a normal woman with a healthy and active sex life, how will these things be twisted? Best to just shower, take the morning after pill, and live with the huge emotional burden put upon me by that animal.”
I shudder to think of how many rape cases will not be reported because of the high profile example of the DSK case. While I acknowledge there is a small chance that the charges are untrue, the real problem here is that if you put this case in front of a jury, whether he did it or not the woman’s reputation would be destroyed, and a jury would likely never convict even if he did it, just based on her past behaviors. The New York District Attorney, Cyrus Vance Jr., knows juries, and this is why he is likely to drop the case against DSK.
The second case is that of Casey Anthony, or as I like to say, the case of CAYLEE Anthony, who is the real person of concern here. Casey killed this little girl, her own flesh and blood, for sure. Somehow we have a jury that knows she did it, but refused to convict her. This is similar to the case in New York where two police officers repeatedly raped a drunk woman in her apartment, one standing watch while the other did his thing, then switched, multiple times. The jury, every member of the jury, in that case all said they KNEW the cops did it, but the evidence was not solid enough to convict. What? Is this how we decide such important cases?
This jury knew Caylee did it, but apparently they had been watching too much CSI. Or, as Dennis Miller put it, “this moron Casey Anthony was entitled to a jury of her peers, and she got just that, a jury full of morons”. I won’t go quite that far, but this jury made a big mistake.
The damaging lesson for America here is that the “burden of proof” has been raised to a near impossible level in our society, and the phrase “beyond reasonable doubt” applies only if you drop the word “reasonable”. A criminal with half a brain and even the most cursory planning can get away with murder. And if they followed the Anthony trial, they now know this.
We need to use our heads in this society, if not our freedom is at risk. The 3 crimes I mentioned her provide frightening lessons for us. While I agree our justice system is the best in the world, it is becoming too lenient, too “understanding”, and the burdens on prosecutors are becoming too high, and the obligations of defense attorneys too easy to meet.