For Steubenville football players, unconsciousness = consent.

Attorneys for Trent Mays and Ma’like Richmond, the two accused rapists of a 16-year-old girl in Steubenville, Ohio, will be taking a bold new approach in their clients’ defense. Okay, that was a lie — they’ll be taking the classic, time-honored approach by asserting that the girl wasn’t actually raped, because she didn’t say no. Ah, the old “absence-of-slurred-and-feeble-no means yes” defense never goes out of style.

[I]t appears that the lawyers for Trent Mays and Ma’like Richmond will say the case’s Jane Doe consented to the whole thing. We’re not kidding. “Defense attorneys believe the girl, who lived across the river in Weirton, W.Va., made a decision to excessively drink and — against her friends’ wishes — to leave with the boys. They assert that she consented to sex,” reports the Cleveland Plain-Dealer‘s Rachel Dissell. Richmond’s attorney, Walter Madison, is getting specific, citing “an abundance of evidence here that she was making decisions, cognitive choices … She didn’t affirmatively say no.”

The alleged victim is not expected to testify when the trial begins in Jefferson County juvenile court — before outside judge Tom Lipps took over for a recused judge with ties to the famed Steubenville High football teach, a West Virginia judge blocked a subpoena of the girl and two other witnesses called by the defense. But that hasn’t stopped Richmond’s attorney from using Jane Doe’s so-called “silence” against her: “The person who is the accuser here is silent just as she was that night, and that’s because there was consent,” Madison said.

Video evidence actually does bear out their statements that the victim was silent, because the video shows (and eyewitness statements concur) that she was unconscious for much of the night, to the point that one guy tweeted repeatedly that she was dead. As the trial progresses, I look forward to the defense’s assertion that the victim’s judgment and decision-making capabilities were not impaired by her unconsciousness, and that being carried around limp by one’s hands and feet qualifies as following someone around. A verdict is expected on Sunday; further updates as events warrant.

[h/t Skepchick]

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94 comments for “For Steubenville football players, unconsciousness = consent.

  1. March 14, 2013 at 2:11 pm

    Why is it so hard for these dudes to understand that the DEFAULT condition of a person — whether drunk, passed out or asleep — with regard to consent is “NO”?!

    I just don’t get it. Do we have a slew of people born without the ability to empathize or to be in the least bit decent? WTF? It’s frightening that there are that many people out there who don’t have a sliver of a conscience. Although, I suppose if they considered women to be actual human beings, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

    • Drahill
      March 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Part of it is presuming “no” and having to actively seek “yes” is the enthusiastic consent model – which no jurisdiction in the nation has yet adopted. That’s why in rape cases, the defense doesn’t have to argue that the victim said yes – they are presumed to have said yes. The prosecutor must offer affirmative evidence of either no or an inability to say yes (sleep, intoxication). The entire system is set up in the assumption that the act(s) was consensual. the burden is to prove they were not, which is why even when you have a passed out/sleeping/comaose patient, lack of consent is still the state’s burden to prove. Maddening.

      • a lawyer
        March 14, 2013 at 3:11 pm

        THIS IS a link to the text of the Ohio rape statute, for those who want to read it

        Drahill March 14, 2013 at 2:22 pm | Permalink | That’s why in rape cases, the defense doesn’t have to argue that the victim said yes – they are presumed to have said yes.

        That’s not really how it works.

        It’s true that the defendant is presumed innocent, but that’s not exclusive to rapes. And it’s true that the prosecution has to prove each element of the crime, which includes both “lack of consent” and the other stuff

        But although the defendant is presumed innocent, they don’t presume specific FACTS. So it’s inaccurate to suggest that they presume consent.

        The alcohol thing is a problem everywhere. In simplest terms, legislators haven’t yet figured out the best way to LEGALLY reconcile the competing goals of “don’t let people off the hook for shit they do, just because they happen to be drunk or impaired,” and “don’t hold people to consequences arising from their actions/statements if they’re drunk or impaired.”

      • Drahill
        March 14, 2013 at 3:32 pm

        I think you’re arguing for facts when I’m arguing for the elements on an offense. Non-consent is one of the essential elements to establishing rape (either through affirmative no or lack of ability to consent). In criminal cases, the presumption of innocence extends to the facts – it is the prosecutor’s duty to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that all the elements are met through the facts. In this case, non-consent is a fact, but it’s also an element that must be met. The initial presumption in a criminal matter is that none of the elements are met to the reasonable doubt standard. At the conclusion of trial, it is the judge/jury’s job to decide if the presumption is overcome. So they are not presuming factual consent, but they do presume consent as an element of the crime.

      • thefish
        March 14, 2013 at 7:24 pm

        And noting from the law, consent is not required. Which is a problem.

      • matlun
        March 14, 2013 at 7:38 pm

        It seems unclear (IANAL). There is 2907.2.c: “The other person’s ability to resist or consent is substantially impaired because of a mental or physical condition […]” which to me seems unclear as to whether this means some kind of “permanent impairment” as opposed to intoxication.

        I do not know what Ohio law says about the case where the victim is totally blasted (basically unconscious).

    • t
      March 14, 2013 at 11:05 pm

      It’s more to do with the problem of society refusing to hold rapists accountable, and thus you get cases like this.

  2. Robert Johnston
    March 14, 2013 at 2:14 pm

    In a [rational] world the judge finds that this “defense” would constitute an admission there was no consent, declares a mistrial due to the incompetence of counsel, sanctions the defense attorneys for all costs incurred by the court and prosecutors in the case, bars them from representing the defendants, and refers the defense attorneys to the disciplinary committee with a recommendation that their licenses be suspended for at least a year.

    Our world is sadly lacking in [rationality].

    • Calioak
      March 15, 2013 at 8:12 pm

      Yes! Yes! Yes! This needs to happen. Thank you for being a voice of sanity in this mess. Now I know HOW to explain this to people around me. Thank you.

  3. March 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Disgusting absolutely disgusting. Didn’t say no – therefore consensual, because it is always the victim’s fault.

  4. Drahill
    March 14, 2013 at 2:20 pm

    The saddest part is that there is probably no alternative. I tend to not have the higest respect for some defense attorneys, but on some level, I do sympathize (on the tiniest level). A defense attorney has an obligation to present the “best” possible case. I suppose in this case, they cannot argue mistaken identity (probably because there’s either video or DNA evidence that links them to it). So the act itself has to be conceeded – which then, I guess, leaves the only option as to argue consent. It’s an ethical bind – do we want to refrain from allowing arguments that are truly repellant but than set up potential appeals? How can society keep this stuff out of court? I hope the girl does not have to take the stand, because it seems like the defense has already shown a willingness to break her down in any way possible.

    I guess that in a culture that doesn’t make excuses for rape, there’s a hope that defense based on rape culture wouldn’t even make it into court in the first place (though I’m not sure that would always be the case). It’s sad, but I see no way, at least right now, to keep arguments like these out of court without some serious issues.

    • EG
      March 14, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      A defense attorney has an obligation to present the “best” possible case.

      Meh, no sympathy from me. He/she could resign rather than present such a disgusting case. That would be a moral stance.

      • tomek
        March 14, 2013 at 2:55 pm

        you are college lecturer, yes? would you resign if you must teach something you dont agree with? most people have not the luxury of making moral stances when it means loosing job, everyone needs job.

        it is the same with many things, we cannot bring morality into it. if layer does not bring all points of argument, no matter morality, he will be sued for malpractice. if public company does not pursue profit at all cost, no matter morality/exploitation, they will be sued by share holder.

        legal system is not setup for morality, it is setup for logic and justice.

      • tomek
        March 14, 2013 at 2:56 pm

        in my last sentence i mean “it is setup for logic-base justice”, as oppose to “moral-base justice”

      • Emolee
        March 14, 2013 at 7:34 pm

        tomek, you have no idea about how legal ethics work.

        Also, I think you just like to argue. Which, fine, but ugh. To some of is, this shit is not just an academic argument.

      • Emolee
        March 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm

        *some of us

      • EG
        March 14, 2013 at 8:52 pm

        you are college lecturer, yes? would you resign if you must teach something you dont agree with?

        If I were expected to promote the idea that an unconscious child had consented to gang rape, yes, I would resign. I didn’t realize that was such a high bar to set. I have sympathy with all sorts of pressures and compromises, but I do draw the line there.

        it is the same with many things, we cannot bring morality into it.

        Speak for yourself. I see no reason not to.

      • Lolagirl
        March 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm

        It’s definitely a shit job to have to do. There are certainly different schools of thought when it comes to criminal defense. I understand the pov of holding the state to its burden of proof, but a scorched earth, vigorous defense that throws it all against the wall when guilt is so clear from the circumstantial evidence, not so much.

        I’ve never done criminal defense work, but on the civil side I certainly have leaned heavily on clients who were rather clearly at fault to settle and not waste time and resources going to trial. I daresay if I was these guys’ attorney I would have pushed them to take a plea bargain and be done with it.

      • (BFing)Sarah
        March 14, 2013 at 9:43 pm

        Agree completely.

      • Steve-o
        March 15, 2013 at 2:12 pm

        Since this is a non-jury trial in juvi court, I can guess with some certainty that the only reason this didn’t get plead out is because the only offer was detention until 21. So basically there is nothing to lose by going to trial. And yeah, while the defense is abhorant, it’s all they have. Please keep in mind that a defense attorney has a duty to zelously represent the client within the bounds of the law. Right, wrong or indifferent it’s how our CJ system functions.

      • Drahill
        March 14, 2013 at 3:07 pm

        So, going by your reasoning, if there is no defense that a defense attorney can present that will not be offensive, that defense attorney should resign from practicing law or at the least, withdraw from the case (and btw, it’s not that easy to withdraw. Judges generally don’t permit it except for very serious circumstances). So by your reasoning, there should be a whole lot of defense attorneys refusing to represent a lot of accused out there, which will basically lead to a lot of defendants without counsel. Sounds good to me, I can’t think of a single constitutional issue that raises. Good thinking there.

      • Emolee
        March 14, 2013 at 3:17 pm

        These defendants, like all defendants, deserve representation and a defense. But they do not deserve this particular defense, as I cannot fathom that any of them, including the attorneys, believes it to be true.

        As far as what if there is no truthful defense? Well, first of all, not my problem. If they were my clients, I’d advise a plea bargain. If they would not plea and there is no truthful affirmative defense then, yeah, focus on the state not meeting it’s burden. Saying “the state did not prove she was unconscious” is not the same thing as saying “she was not unconscious/she consented.”

        As I said, this case makes me sick.

      • Drahill
        March 14, 2013 at 3:24 pm

        emolee: The point I’m considering is whether there is any non-sickening defense here. Most likely, there is video or other evidence that links them to the victim, so the defense can’t really pursue “wrong guy” as the defense. So what is the alternative? I don’t know – but usually, that involves attacking one or more elements of the crime. Could he argue that they never penetrated her? I don’t know. But I do know that in most cases, the most viable defense is to attack consent, because it provides the most wiggle room and places for reasonable doubt. And it is sickening – but what if its the only viable defense? Do we start denying the right to a defense on this basis? That troubles me too much. My hope is that society will evolve enough to the point where rape culture is so dismantled that nobody would even THINK to make an argument like this. But until that time, this is what we have.

      • March 14, 2013 at 3:28 pm

        Or you could change the law so that a yes is needed rather than not saying No. The move to this in the UK has not made things perfect, and plenty of rape apologists complain that being drunk should not be a reason not to have sex with a woman, but it has helped a lot.

      • Drahill
        March 14, 2013 at 3:33 pm

        Jemina: Exactly. That is the current problem in the US – no jurisdiction has adopted this. but I think it would be tough, given that presuming non-consent could rub up against the presumption of innocence issue. So I think that is highly unlikely in the US.

      • March 14, 2013 at 4:40 pm

        Not a lawyer but since US law is based on UK in this, it must be possible.

        There are still many many problems, not being able to bring up past sexual behavior has probably had a bigger impact but in a comparable case at least she was drunk became evidence for rape, not a defense. The argument then hinged on was she drunk? This does not overturn presumption of innocence as the prosecution still has to prove intoxication. In the Evans case there was CCTV.

        SAdly the net in the UK is awash with [arsehats] shocked they need to hear a yes before having sex, I was recently told by an MRA that it was “feminism gone mad”

      • March 14, 2013 at 4:26 pm

        But they do not deserve this particular defense, as I cannot fathom that any of them, including the attorneys, believes it to be true.

        Belief =/= knowledge, though.

        And frankly, what “decent” defense is there? This crime is indefensible. I would not regard any defense in this case as inoffensive. Not even if it involved magical mindwarping aliens.

      • Emolee
        March 14, 2013 at 5:14 pm

        Instead of saying they don’t believe it to be true, I should have said they believe it to be untrue. And while belief still doesn’t equal knowledge, my understanding of legal ethics would not allow me to use a defense I reasonably, based on the evidence, believed to be untrue.

        And Mac, I agree there is no decent defense. I just regard the idea that she consented being in the same neighborhood ( or at least adjacent) as the mindwarping aliens insofar as it’s credulity in this case.

      • Emolee
        March 14, 2013 at 5:17 pm


      • thefish
        March 14, 2013 at 7:39 pm

        I’m pretty sure as long as you don’t take part in perjury or otherwise commit ethical violations your fine

        For example: If you can get an alibi from someone who hallucinated the defendant, you are free to put that person on the stand. You are then free to play up the unswerving honesty and photographic memory of this witness if they have those traits too. If the defendant is a chimera and the DNA he left at the scene fails to match the DNA state tested from him? Base your case around that. If a cop with access to all the evidence perjures himself? Feel free to point out he had a chance to tamper with it, even if you know he did not.

        In the end, this is not a reprehensible defense. They are presenting a different case than the prosecution. One in which not all elements of the crime exist. Like every other defense ever.

      • Emolee
        March 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm

        I work with some legal ethicists who would strongly disagree with you on the hallucination example. The other two are fair though.

      • TomSims
        March 15, 2013 at 1:42 pm

        Are you suggesting we disregard the right to counsel guaranteed by the 6th Amendment?

    • Emolee
      March 14, 2013 at 3:04 pm

      Actually, lawyers have no obligation to (and are actually ethically prohibited from) advancing a defense with no basis in the truth.

      • Drahill
        March 14, 2013 at 3:09 pm

        Actually, many defenses are based upon speculation. The ethical obligation is to not present anything you KNOW to not be true (basically, you can’t support perjury). You’ve got “telling the truth” and “not lying” confused.

      • Emolee
        March 14, 2013 at 3:21 pm

        You are right; an attorney can advance a defense that is a lie so long as the attorney does not know it to be a lie. I just do not believe for a micro-second that that is what is happening here.

      • thefish
        March 14, 2013 at 7:48 pm

        They can still advance a defense where the “reasonable doubt” is blatantly false. For example, if a cop perjures himself on the stand and had access to all the evidence? The main thrust of the defense is the cop, who has tried to trick the jury, illegally, already, had access to the evidence. The evidence could all be tampered with.

        This is the case even if you know full well the dirty cop tampered with nothing.

      • Emolee
        March 14, 2013 at 8:00 pm

        The difference is that you would be saying that the cop *could have* tampered with evidence or that he had the opportunity/motive, etc. But if you knew for a fact he did not do it and argued that he *did* (as opposed to letting the jury wonder), this would violate ethics.

        There is a big difference between arguing that she consented versus that the state can’t prove she did not.

    • matlun
      March 14, 2013 at 5:22 pm

      The saddest part is that there is probably no alternative.

      That is a very good point. Seriously, if you were the defense lawyer and the client refused to plead guilty, what would you say?

      I have a hard time believing this one will fly, though. So it basically goes something like: “She may appear to be unconscious in the video and have to be carried around by her arms and feet, but actually she was just playing and was consenting to be carried around and be a sexual plaything for my clients”

      If a jury buys that one it will just be utterly depressing.

      • Bruce McGlory
        March 15, 2013 at 4:11 pm

        what always interests me about people who rush to the defense of defense attorneys is: they’re basically saying that it’s not the defense attorneys job to make sure justice is done, but to do their best to GUARANTY that it’s not done. Everything Drahill just said can be summarized in one sentence: “It’s the defense attorneys job to make sure criminals are not punished for their crimes”.

        How in the fucking hell is that justice?

        notice, I didn’t say “defendants deserve no representation”. I’m just appalled that the very best thing we can say about our “justice” system is that defense attorneys knowingly and deliberately put criminals on the streets.

      • Evan Carden
        March 15, 2013 at 4:54 pm

        There’s an interesting slip from ‘client’ to ‘criminals’ there that answers your question.

      • Bagelsan
        March 15, 2013 at 7:54 pm

        Defense? Lawyers? Pshaw. Let’s just hang ’em up or shoot them like the good old days.


  5. igglanova
    March 14, 2013 at 2:24 pm

    Every time I read a story like this one, it feels like waking up into a heavy-handed satire. The real world can’t be this farcically awful.

  6. onetinythought
    March 14, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I saw this covered on television awhile back, and some photos were displayed of the girl being carried by her hands and feet, clearly unconscious.

    –where are the parents of these kids in all of this? Apparently, the “victory party” went from house to house

    –football culture (I venture to say football cult) once again dominating the story. Just as in the Penn State/Sandusky case of child rape, these wonderful heartland people will stop at nothing to protect the “team” and their “heroes” from any consequences of their horrible, felonious behavior.

    –and of course, blame the victim. It’s the good old American Way.

    I am beyond disgusted at all of this, and can only feel heartbroken for this girl.

    • miga
      March 15, 2013 at 2:15 am

      I don’t know if that’s fair. My father is a big football fan. Played in high school, coached it when I was young, still enjoys watching the game. He’ll yell at the TV so loud sometimes it’ll scare our dog.
      He’s also a health teacher and a father and a decent human being. If someone did something like that and he found out?? He’d go apeshit, and put all of his football skills into tackling the fuck out of the rapist(s) involved.

    • Henry
      March 15, 2013 at 2:53 am

      I’m sorry to disagree, but we got just a shit faced after sports games, soccer, football, (even academic team) as these kids did. The worst that happened to the nearly passed out (men or women) was being uncermoniously carted onto your friend’s lawn so you didn’t puke on the carpet while one of your slightly less inebriated friends looked out for you and the cops. Partying is not to blame here, nor is the alcohol, or sports, what’s to blame is rapists and those who were covering for them. It’s not just football culture, a rabbi in our neighboring congregation in Florida went to bat for some “good kids” who were using ruffies on girls years ago and rightfully caught major shit for it. Any group where the “in crowd” is accused of something heinous has a habit of rallying around them because they cannot believe their beloved whoevers are evil monsters.

      • Angie unduplicated
        March 15, 2013 at 12:33 pm

        This is patriarchy, where in crowd=male, out crowd=female, and being in with the in crowd is implied consent to the in crowd’s values. It’s a wonder that this, or a headbanging somewhere on the field, hasn’t already been utilized as justification. Of course, that may just be me, as female outsider, just not getting over myself since only 3% or so of rapists ever see prison time.

  7. Emolee
    March 14, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    This case makes me sick. And angry. My thoughts with the victim.

  8. March 14, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    The more I hear about this case (which admittedly is through various Anonymous actions) the more my heart breaks for the victim and rages against a town that seems to see this as acceptable.

  9. March 14, 2013 at 4:23 pm

    Eh. The rapists need a defense lawyer. And there’s no NON-disgusting defense to be offered in this case, because frankly, there’s no non-disgusting excuse for gang rape. (Or any rape, really, but.) So…fine, it’s a disgusting defense. Guess it’s the best the lawyer could come up with?

    But on the whole, I’d rather a defense lawyer was offering a shitty and obviously disgusting defense than no lawyer in the picture, which could lead to the rapists actually getting off under the umbrella of MAH RIGHTS.

    • Bagelsan
      March 14, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      No kidding. I want the defense to basically claim that “well, she might have looked unconscious because she was busy hypnotizing them into raping her with her female brain waves because she is from Venus and also we might all live in a butterfly’s dream so who are we to say what is and isn’t reality, therefore my client doesn’t even exist to be guilty!” The stupider the crap they come up with the better.

    • Emolee
      March 14, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      The lawyer could argue that the state did not prove that she didn’t consent without arguing that she in fact consented.

      • Drahill
        March 15, 2013 at 9:37 am

        Forgive me for asking – but how would you suggest doing this? Basically, you have two arguments here – either the victim did not consent or she did. There’s no other alternative. The prosecution will argue that she did not – and they will present their evidence. Now, you’re arguing that the defense has no duty to put forth any affirmative evidence of non-consent. However, how would that actually work? The defense in a criminal trial largely creates doubt by putting holes in the prosecution’s theory of the crime. They do that by arguing that the alternative(s) is possible as well. However, in this case, there are only two alternatives: she either consented or she didn’t. Thus, in order to argue that the prosecution didn’t prove non-consent, the defense will be in the position of arguing for at least the possibility of consent. That’s how it works. You’re twisting to get at an argument that they don’t have to say anything about consent to win, but you’re suggesting that they basically leave evidence unrebutted, which is illogical.

      • Emolee
        March 15, 2013 at 11:57 am

        It is a thin line, but there is a difference between arguing that the state coul not prove X and that X did not occur. I had to do this recently (not a rape case). If you know your client is guilty, because he told you, you cannot argue he isn’t. But you can still argue that the state did not meet it’s burden of proof. So in this case, that would still involve bringing up the concept of consent (I never said they would not bring up consent) and would still involve poking holes in the prosecution’s case. It would be about making the jury (or fact finder) think that consent was a possibility without outright stating (like in closing argument) that she did consent.

      • Emolee
        March 15, 2013 at 12:01 pm

        My phone likes to change all “its” to “it’s”. Ughh.

      • Drahill
        March 15, 2013 at 1:21 pm

        I’m still not seeing how you can argue for “the possibility of consent” without presenting evidence. The prosecution is going to present their own evidence of non-consent, because they have to. The defense can counter and say “there is a possibility she did consent.” However, any halfway decent lawyer, I would hope, would follow that up with “there is a possibility she consented because…” and they’ll follow with some evidence (no matter how weak) that she did.

        When I was learning criminal law, it was impressed upon us that the one question an attorney should never, ever ask a client is “did you do it?” Because that can be very binding if its the wrong answer. I just do not see how the defense can mount a case solely by attacking the prosecution’s case without presenting contradictory evidence.

      • Emolee
        March 15, 2013 at 1:39 pm

        Drahill, you are right that the kind of defense I was describing is very difficult and often not effective. You are really just going for reasonable doubt. But any juror or fact finder familiar with the law will likely see this defense for what it is.

        But sometimes this defense is all there is. And I often do have to ask my clients if they did it- not in these words, but by saying “tell me exactly what happened, the whole truth.” 9 times out of 10 this results in better representation (but clearly there are exceptions). And sometimes your clients tell you things you didn’t ask about. It should be noted I am not strictly a criminal defense attorney but sometimes criminal matters arise in my work.

        Anyway, I feel we have really veered off topic now because this may or may not apply in the case at issue. I have a hard time imagining that the lawyers here do not know the defendants are guilty, but maybe they really do not.

      • Drahill
        March 15, 2013 at 2:06 pm

        I’d have a tough time believing that the lawyers DON’T know. The video evidence of the actual rape is probably going into evidence, which means they’ve viewed it. They must know.

        I get where you’re coming from. I think the problem that a lot of lawyers find themselves in is that the nastiest defense is often seen as the most effective. Choosing not to do it can, in some cases, set up an appeal – which then creates its own risks. I’d personally rather see a dirty trial done once and no chance of viable appeals then a victim having to endure two or more trials. There is no good answer for this.

      • Emolee
        March 15, 2013 at 2:31 pm

        I hear you. These are nuanced issues of legal ethics and different lawyers will come down on different sides of that thin line.

    • SophiaBlue
      March 14, 2013 at 5:29 pm

      I guess I think the ideal thing in this situation would be for it to be so obvious to everyone that this constitutes rape that the defendants would have to enter a guilty plea, but that would require a change to our entire society, not just defense lawyers.

    • Henry
      March 15, 2013 at 2:47 am

      But on the whole, I’d rather a defense lawyer was offering a shitty and obviously disgusting defense

      Exactly, I know people who defend people like this in the public defender’s office, and they hope they lose every damn trial.

      • Julia
        March 15, 2013 at 9:37 am

        The only problem is, the attorneys must be seen as trying their hardest – otherwise you risk a mistrial/appeal. I agree it is odious, and a guilty plea would at least be honest, but the last thing I want is a plea bargain from these guys, and less than a maximum sentence. It is a horrific crime.

    • Calioak
      March 15, 2013 at 9:00 pm

      I could see your point if the victim could have consented, but an unconscious person can’t consent. There are eye witnesses statements and video proving the victim couldn’t consent. It’s one thing to argue that the victim didn’t say no because she wanted to have sex and an entirely different thing to argue that the victim didn’t say no because she couldn’t say no. We already have proof the victim couldn’t say no, so it doesn’t really matter what she said. This is a “she was there and female” defense not a consent defense. If she had possibly been conscious this defense would make sense.

  10. gwyllion
    March 14, 2013 at 4:50 pm

    i just read a phenomenal article about the Betty Williams Kiss and Kill murder in 1961 Odessa TX. A young (but marvelously expressive) depressed girl Betty Williams asked to have a former ‘boyfriend’ – a star football player kill her. He agreed, met her next to a stock pond kissed her and then blew her head off with a shotgun and weighted her body down in the water.

    The murder was readily found out, Mack Herring, the football player readily confessed, but was acquitted. The town rallied around him and blamed Betty for railroading him into killing her!

    Awesome football culture (awww the poor poor boy!) ! It is an interesting article, however – and Betty – wow – what a loss – she was a wonderful interesting and moving personality! Read here:

    • March 14, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Okay, I know you’re not intending to draw that comparison, most probably, but a case of a woman asking to be murdered is probably not the best thing to bring up in a case where “consent” is being manufactured to support a horrible thing being done to a woman.

      • gwyllion
        March 15, 2013 at 3:15 pm

        no – you are correct – i was underscoring the privilege of football players not remarking on the issue of consent.

    • pheenobarbidoll
      March 14, 2013 at 7:33 pm

      I live in Odessa. Trust me, it hasn’t gotten any better in regards to football worship.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        March 14, 2013 at 7:35 pm

        Also- never heard of Betty, but I went to Permian. Permian makes OHS’s football worship look like childs play. The booster club buys nice houses for their football players in order to lure them into their district.

      • Computer Soldier Porygon
        March 15, 2013 at 10:39 am

        Sounds like a terrifying place.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        March 15, 2013 at 12:48 pm

        There are too many dumbasses here to be scary. It’s maddening and enough to make you want to run screaming into a volcano when then stupid falls from their mouths though.

        It’s an oil boom town. We don’t attract the cream of the social/intellectual crop.

      • Computer Soldier Porygon
        March 15, 2013 at 5:32 pm

        Haha, yeah, I know what you mean. I grew up in Huntsville.

      • Emolee
        March 14, 2013 at 7:45 pm

        pheeno, my parents grew up in Odessa (graduated OHS in the 60s) and my grandma lives there, so I have spent a lot of time there. I have always been amazed that my mom is and always has been a liberal, anti-racist, feminist considering the dominant environment there.

      • pheenobarbidoll
        March 14, 2013 at 7:49 pm

        Yup. It’s a real treat living here. /sarcasm

  11. Henry
    March 15, 2013 at 2:42 am

    There’s no ethical bind here for the defense, they will argue the case and lose and they expect to lose. They obviously do not have a plea deal on the table or they would have taken it, given the damning video evidence. Everybody gets a defense, even the heinously obviously guilty (I note the 9th Circ. just overturned a death penalty verdict based on perjured testimony by a cop – so as shitty as it is we need this system). So yeah sometimes it looks like a sick joke, and you actually hope most cases look like this just so they convict easily. If I were defense counsel I would advise they plead guilty, apologize and ask for a mitigated sentence due to their sparing the victim the horror of a trial. The bleeding heart in me hopes they reform themselves and never commit another crime like this. Though a bigger part of me wants them spend the rest of their lives in prison, because I just do not trust them.

    I pray to God the jury is made of actual decent human beings this time. If these guys get off I’ll know the OJ/Michael Jackson/Casey Anthony/Dude from Berreta “jury” is making the rounds of U.S. court houses yet again.

    • Julia
      March 15, 2013 at 9:40 am

      Thank you, Henry – I tried making this point in another comment but you’ve said it very well here.

    • Past my expiration date
      March 15, 2013 at 11:51 am

      I pray to God the jury is made of actual decent human beings this time.

      There isn’t a jury.

      • Henry
        March 16, 2013 at 1:40 pm

        Thank you Past, They opted for a bench trial? I just read more details of the case, since they are all minors they face jail until 21 and possible lifetime sex offender registry according to press reports. I cannot fathom why they are pleading not guilty. There is zero chance the judge will find them not guilty. They would have been better off with a jury, after all R. Kelly was acquited, and the prosecutors in that case called 22 witnesses who identified the girl on the tape (victim refused to testify, allegedly paid off) We’ll see if I am right or not when we get the sentencing. If they get some slap on the writst we’ll know what’s up.

  12. irieagogo
    March 15, 2013 at 10:15 am

    So regarding this video evidence, which has been widely distributed:

    Wouldn’t the defense be planning to do their best to exclude jurors who’ve seen it and exclude the video as evidence?

    And if the jury is not allowed to see the obviously unconscious, dragged and raped girl being assaulted, doesn’t this defense stand a much better chance of succeeding?

    • Rhoanna
      March 15, 2013 at 11:51 am

      They’re being tried by a judge, not a jury. (Maybe tied to them being tried as juveniles, I don’t know.) That strategy would also rely on getting the evidence excluded, which might not happen. Nevermind all the other photographic and witness testimony, which the defense would have to explain away.

    • Henry
      March 16, 2013 at 1:42 pm

      It would be impossible to exclude video of a crime being committed. That video is central to the case of whether there was any capacity to consent.

  13. Emolee
    March 15, 2013 at 12:38 pm

    Another thing about this case is that even if they are found guilty, they will only go to a juevenille facility until age 21. That’s it! What do you think about them being tried as minors?

    • PM
      March 15, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      They’re minors, so they get tried as minors and (hopefully) convicted and sentenced as minors, to be placed in juvenile justice facilities that house juvenile offenders. It’s the ethical thing to do.

      • March 15, 2013 at 5:37 pm

        They’re minors, so they get tried as minors and (hopefully) convicted and sentenced as minors, to be placed in juvenile justice facilities that house juvenile offenders. It’s the ethical thing to do.

        Unless of course they’re POC minors accused of a serious crime (often far less serious a crime than sexual assault). Then the US justice system is all about charging/sentencing/incarcerating minors as adults in adult justice facilities.

        It’s not right to just handwave that historical double standard away just because this time the justice system is actually trying minors as minors.

        [comment edited to increase clarity]

      • EG
        March 15, 2013 at 5:40 pm

        I agree with you, but to my mind the solution to that is to try all minors as minors. Period. No matter what. So I agree that this is a horrible double standard, but I also agree that these scumbags should be tried as minors, because that’s what they are.

      • March 15, 2013 at 5:47 pm

        EG, I agree with you too. That it’s possible to charge a minor as an adult in some (all?) US jurisdictions has horrified me ever since I first learnt of it.

        I just understand how it could feel to be a non-White person watching the extreme judicial delicacy being extended to these White youths, and feel very very angry that the same ethical standards get waved away as irrelevant for POC youths.

      • PM
        March 15, 2013 at 5:53 pm

        Not disagreeing with you on the glaring disparities in every step of the criminal justice system between white defendants and defendants of color, but in the Steubenville case one defendant is white and one defendant is black.

      • March 15, 2013 at 6:40 pm

        PM, thanks for the extra info. I agree that does complicate the picture, and I’m bowing out now.

      • Henry
        March 16, 2013 at 1:46 pm

        Dave Chappelle does a wonderful skit on the double justice system we have. It does not involve minors, but it rings true in this case. I agree with EG the solution is to stop trying minors as adults. Minors lack the impulse control of adults, that’s why we do not penalize them as we do adults.

  14. Calioak
    March 15, 2013 at 8:03 pm

    I really hope there is a way to go after other people involved in this case. There has to be some abuse of positions of trust for people in the school system or some sort of abuse of professional ethics from law enforcement. Gah.

  15. McMike
    March 16, 2013 at 3:06 pm

    Well the defense is supposed to make the best case it can. One should wait and see if this defense flies.

  16. Bagelsan
    March 17, 2013 at 6:56 pm

    Hurray! Their stupid guilty rapist asses were found guilty of rape!

    It’s sad how surprised and happy I am!

Comments are closed.