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.
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