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What Proof Does a Woman Have to Have?
May 27, 2011 12:53 PM   Subscribe

"The woman, 29, testified, she woke up naked except for a bra, in a puddle of vomit, and believing that she had been raped the night before by a police officer." An East Village video system "recorded two police officers as they arrived at the apartment building above the bar four times in four hours — once on official business, then sneaking back three more times in secret..." What Proof Does a Woman Have to Have? (NYT)

Officers Franklin Mata and Kenneth Moreno, who admitted to helping the intoxicated woman into her home, lied about their further visits that night: "The Police Department had only a single documented record of a visit to the woman’s building by Officers Moreno and Mata: after the first call from the taxi driver, at 1:10 a.m.." Later, they admitted to being in the apartment again, saying that Moreno "spooned with her on the bed, and kissed her on the shoulder. " The two have been aquitted of rape, causing protests from women's groups.

Jurors in the criminal case reportedly felt stymied by lack of DNA evidence. The officers were, however, convicted of official misconduct and were immediately fired after the verdict. They face up to two years in jail. They additionally face a civil suit from their accuser.
posted by DarlingBri (131 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I hope they go to jail for the entire two years and I hope she takes them for everything they've got.

Don't forget that they also had an audio recording of Moreno admitting to having intercourse with her.
posted by the young rope-rider at 1:02 PM on May 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


What? they had an audio recording of a confession? that's heinous,
posted by kuatto at 1:10 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Has the rise in the use of DNA evidence led to a corresponding rise in justice?
posted by box at 1:14 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jurors in the criminal case reportedly felt stymied by lack of DNA evidence.

If there was intercourse, surely there must have been some DNA evidence, hair samples, etc. Was there evidence tampering?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:15 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


NYPD will never be convicted of any crime they are accused of. This is why it is important that we make sure that NYPD selection and hiring processes, as well as training, produces responsible, professional officers.
posted by fuq at 1:16 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It sounds like the recording was of him saying he had sex with her, not him saying he raped her.

I'm kind of surprised that wearing a condom would be enough to prevent ANY DNA from being found, you would think there would be skin cells in the bed or something. Did the city just not want to pay for that much testing? There was a video of him entering the building so I guess it wasn't really necessary.
posted by delmoi at 1:16 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've read that because of CSI and other cop shows, juries now have an expectation that there *must* be DNA evidence, and if there isn't, then they won't convict, but that DNA evidence is nowhere near as available or as easy as it appears on TV.
posted by jacquilynne at 1:17 PM on May 27, 2011 [37 favorites]


This seems less about DNA and more about the defendants being police.
posted by adipocere at 1:17 PM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


She took a shower before she went to the hospital. And while that's not what she should have done, taking a shower would be my first impulse if I woke up in a puddle of vomit.
posted by craichead at 1:17 PM on May 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


According to the Times article, she showered before she went to the police.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:18 PM on May 27, 2011


DNA evidence is hard to get. As a woman, one of the most consistent pieces of advice I've gotten is, "If you get attacked, scratch him as much as you can. Get as much skin under your nails as possible, so that there is some chance of getting DNA."

If you're not conscious, you're not collecting DNA. If you're a police officer, you know that your unconcious victim is not collecting DNA.

Also, if your attacker is a police officer, the cards are stacked against you. Doubly so if you show up at the precinct covered in vomit.
posted by bilabial at 1:20 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, let's start out by being honest about that audio tape. It's arguably, but not definitely a confession. It's a tape where, after denying that anything happened repeatedly, the officer answered "yes, I did" to a question about whether or not he used a condom. The content was a lengthy conversation when he was confronted about the case in a public place. While I can see a jury believing it to be a confession, it's not unreasonable to see it as someone giving into pressure to try to get a conversation to end.

I'd also point out that plenty of innocent people have been convicted on stronger confessions than that.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:21 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


You know, as much as we hear about needing street corner cameras and the like to prevent crime, I think the technology has gotten to the point where putting on a badge means you ought to be wearing a camera as well, on continuous feed, and you had better damned well be able to explain everything that is (or isn't) on your feed.
posted by Mooski at 1:21 PM on May 27, 2011 [48 favorites]


Don't forget that they also had an audio recording of Moreno admitting to having intercourse with her.

It's not that simple. The woman entered the police station and confronted the officer, asking him if he'd worn a condom. According to the officer's lawyer, he denied having sex with the woman several times until she threatened to make a scene. It was only then that he said "yes" to the question about wearing a condom.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:21 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


"I'm kind of surprised that wearing a condom would be enough to prevent ANY DNA from being found, you would think there would be skin cells in the bed or something. Did the city just not want to pay for that much testing? There was a video of him entering the building so I guess it wasn't really necessary."

DNA evidence does not work this way.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:23 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, let's start out by being honest about that audio tape. It's arguably, but not definitely a confession. It's a tape where, after denying that anything happened repeatedly, the officer answered "yes, I did" to a question about whether or not he used a condom. The content was a lengthy conversation when he was confronted about the case in a public place. While I can see a jury believing it to be a confession, it's not unreasonable to see it as someone giving into pressure to try to get a conversation to end.
It's ironic that the police use tactics like that to get convictions all the time, though.
posted by delmoi at 1:27 PM on May 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


"She took a shower before she went to the hospital. And while that's not what she should have done, taking a shower would be my first impulse if I woke up in a puddle of vomit."

It was and remains not her responsibility to get these monsters convicted. If we're going to talk about what anyone in this situation should have done, we should drown that shit out with how THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE RAPED HER.
posted by Blasdelb at 1:27 PM on May 27, 2011 [33 favorites]


The jury’s decision also underscores the difficulty of obtaining favorable results for women who say they were sexually assaulted, and who often are subjected to scrutiny and skepticism that keep many of them from speaking out. In this case, defense lawyers pounced on the credibility of the woman because she was very drunk on the night in question and did not remember many details.

Not that I don't think there's a fair amount of distasteful victim-blaming that goes on in defending cases like this, but I find this formulation pretty irritating. Any key witness in any trial who was very drunk during the events to which he or she is testifying and "does not remember many details" will have his or her credibility "pounced on" by the other side. Because that's what good lawyers do. And also because it is totally legitimate to think that being very drunk and not remembering many details affects the credibility of one's testimony.
posted by eugenen at 1:28 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is sickening. That poor woman.
posted by pluot at 1:31 PM on May 27, 2011


You know, police target vulnerable people who are less likely to be believed. I, for example, am not very likely to be raped by a cop - I'm white, I'm middle class, I don't drink or use drugs, I am not a sex worker, I am in full possession of my mental faculties at the moment and I am [ahem] no longer that young. Police target drunk women precisely because they are less likely to be believed and less likely to handle evidence collection [ugh] correctly.
posted by Frowner at 1:33 PM on May 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


It was and remains not her responsibility to get these monsters convicted. If we're going to talk about what anyone in this situation should have done, we should drown that shit out with how THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE RAPED HER.

Phrases like "presumption of innocence" and "burden of proof" actually mean something, even in cases when a woman claims she's been raped. You might think these guys are monsters and rapists, but unless you can prove it in court, those terms will carry only the weight of your considered opinion.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:34 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


If we're going to talk about what anyone in this situation should have done, we should drown that shit out with how THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE RAPED HER.

Chill out. No one is blaming the victim, or suggesting that not thinking about how to preserve evidence is the moral equivalent of rape. Jesus. It's a point worth repeating that if you want criminals to be brought to justice - not just in a rape, but in any crime - you need to think through your trauma and think about preserving the evidence. If a victim understandably fails to do that, it doesn't make her any more at fault, and no one is saying otherwise.
posted by Dasein at 1:34 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


It was and remains not her responsibility to get these monsters convicted. If we're going to talk about what anyone in this situation should have done, we should drown that shit out with how THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE RAPED HER.

Do you really think the post you quoted was blaming the victim for being irresponsible? I think it's fairly clear that "should" was used there to say what should have been done in order to maximize the chances of successful prosecution. Saying her actions could have been different and maybe led to a different legal outcome in no way exculpates the officers, does it?
posted by skewed at 1:35 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Fuck "CSI" and "Law & Order" and "NCIS" and all these procedurals. They've convinced people to expect a completely unreasonable level of evidence and documentation. In reality, iirc, fingerprints (if found) have something like a 15% chance of being usable. Some states have a years-long backlog of processing DNA evidence like rape kits.

And to hell with these guys.
posted by rmd1023 at 1:35 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


My understanding of the DNA issue is that he used a condom, she took a shower, and the jury was impacted by the CSI effect, which is very real and has a lot of impact in the last 15 years. In this study, 22% of polled potential jourors expected to see DNA evidence in every criminal case.
posted by DarlingBri at 1:36 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Michael Vick got more time for dogfighting than Johanes Mehserle got for putting a round into Oscar Grant's back while he was face down on the train platform.

The fact that Mehserle was convicted of anything at all was considered a victory.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 1:37 PM on May 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


Don't you think DNA testing has greatly increased rape convictions though and decreased he said / she said?
posted by smackfu at 1:37 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


If we're going to talk about what anyone in this situation should have done, we should drown that shit out with how THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE RAPED HER.

I agree completely that we should be exceptionally careful not to victim-blame and "should" is dangerous territory, word-wise. However I also think saying we should "drown that shit out" is unproductive when it comes to making the world the place we want and need it to be.

Nobody should be physically assaulted on the street, but there are ways one should can behave and precautions one can take to minimize that risk, minimize the harm if one is attacked, maximize the chances of catching and convicting attackers.

Nobody should ANY_BAD_THING_HERE, but we live in a world where not everything is as it should be. If we want to make it better there are things we can do. Some of them are about prevention, some are about restitution, some are about personal recovery. This woman might have a better mental outcome if these slime had been successfully prosecuted. Wouldn't it be in her interest to take those actions?

That's not about obligation so I agree - we should avoid the word should in those circumstances. But saying there's a way to re/act that gets best results - for a person and for society - isn't blaming someone or excusing bad behavior. It's just living in the real world.
posted by phearlez at 1:39 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It was and remains not her responsibility to get these monsters convicted. If we're going to talk about what anyone in this situation should have done, we should drown that shit out with how THEY SHOULD NOT HAVE RAPED HER.

Artificial dichotomy, almost. The rape should never have happened, but she woke up having been raped. Now what? What follows is that it was (though entirely understandable) counterproductive for her to have taken a shower before going to the hospital, and it could have meant the difference between acquittal and conviction.

Yes: people shouldn't rape other people. But education should go out to women that preservation of evidence will nail their rapists with a conviction. Like self-defense teaches making a lot of noise and a kick in the crotch, in the horrible circumstance that a rape is actually committed, thing 1 is go to a hospital. No shower, no hand washing, nothing. Go straight to a hospital and preserve the evidence that will get that asshole CONVICTED.
posted by chimaera at 1:39 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Police target drunk women precisely because they are less likely to be believed and less likely to handle evidence collection [ugh] correctly.

If you're going to slander an entire profession of public workers, it would be great if you could include a citation or a link or something.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:40 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fuck "CSI" and "Law & Order" and "NCIS" and all these procedurals. They've convinced people to expect a completely unreasonable level of evidence and documentation.

That's actually not the most evil thing about those shows. The most evil thing about those shows is how they normalize the idea that when a cop breaks the rules, it's because the rules are unfairly letting someone evil get away, not that those rules protect citizens and are only there because there are bad cops--actually, no. The most evil thing about those shows is that they are always from the cop POV and so are basically cop propaganda.

Of course, the unrealistic forensic evidence side is bad too...and also bad is how many perps talk to the cops (especially CSI) w/out ever asking for a lawyer. And then they confess and it's off to jail, roll credits. Because that's the way it should be, because, America.

There is no excuse for re-entering the apartment of a drunk naked woman and "cuddling" her, wearing a condom...the lies are so ridiculous that you know, I know, and the dog knows they raped her. Or one of them did. I hope their careers are ruined and their bank accounts emptied. But they should be in jail, for rape, for a long time.
posted by emjaybee at 1:41 PM on May 27, 2011 [32 favorites]


According to the officer's lawyer, he denied having sex with the woman several times until she threatened to make a scene. It was only then that he said "yes" to the question about wearing a condom.

The officer is saying somebody threatening to "make a scene" is all it takes to get him to falsely confess to rape?
posted by kmz at 1:42 PM on May 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


If anything, I would imagine that DNA evidence has resulted in fewer wrongful convictions, and the acquittal of a greater number of guilty defendants. I don't know if that is the case, though.

And for those jumping on Blasdelb's comment: It's really big of you all to teach the women of metafilter how to avoid and/or successfully prosecute sexual assault, but can we back off just a little bit?
posted by Doug at 1:43 PM on May 27, 2011


The officer is saying somebody threatening to "make a scene" is all it takes to get him to falsely confess to rape?

The officer clearly violated procedures that night by staying at the woman's apartment, and was convicted of official misconduct. Even if he did not rape her, he had plenty of incentive to defuse the situation.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:44 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The only good thing I can see in this case is that these two assholes aren't police anymore. And I feel a little sick that our country has such a fucked up relationship with corrupt, incompetent, or power-hungry bully cops that just seeing them fired for such completely inappropriate behavior feels like any kind of win.

They additionally face a civil suit from their accuser.

Hopefully this will be a big, big thing.
posted by quin at 1:45 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you're going to slander an entire profession of public workers, it would be great if you could include a citation or a link or something.

The tricky bit is that police are rarely convicted and complaints are rarely made because the victims are poor, messed up or already marginalized, and civilian review boards (like ours in Minneapolis) are routinely weakened and defunded. So yeah, I can't. I have spent a lot of time doing various anti-police-brutality work over the past ten years...so perhaps I will just qualify that to say that in my ten years of experience, I have known police to target vulnerable women, queer people, people of color and small men. I will gladly "slander" the profession that is universally feared in my neighborhood, and the profession that has beaten a reasonable number of my casual acquaintance. Some of this I have seen with my own eyes, as I've detailed in a couple of places around metafilter.
posted by Frowner at 1:45 PM on May 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


emjaybee, I'm not saying these guys are innocent, but if you're not sure if they both raped her or if only one of them raped her, that sounds a lot like reasonable doubt to me.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:46 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


"No one is blaming the victim, or suggesting that not thinking about how to preserve evidence is the moral equivalent of rape."

I did not mean to suggest that anyone is, however, to say that this woman had an obligation to extend the trauma of her rape in order to preserve evidence, especially of something so fucking obvious, is reprehensible at best. This corner of feminist thinking only really made sense to me when I was able to see it in light of one of scody's awesome comments about relationships in general:

"2. Similarly, avoid "should" as much as possible, too -- "you should do the dishes" is different from "it's your turn to do the dishes." The first implies obligation (and a failure to live up to it), which may trigger an immediate sense of defensiveness, while the other is more of a statement of fact, and may be less likely to prompt a negative response."
posted by Blasdelb at 1:46 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I see a black sheep, so all sheep must be black.
posted by smackfu at 1:47 PM on May 27, 2011


cop propaganda

Copaganda.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:50 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Police target drunk women precisely because they are less likely to be believed and less likely to handle evidence collection [ugh] correctly.

BobbyVan: If you're going to slander an entire profession of public workers, it would be great if you could include a citation or a link or something.
"

OK. How about "Police who rape women target drunk women precisely because they are less likely to be believed and less likely to handle evidence collection [ugh] correctly." I mean, I'm assuming you are not going to make an argument that police officers are statistically less likely to be rapists than the general population, right?
posted by DarlingBri at 1:51 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


putting on a badge means you ought to be wearing a camera as well

Amen to that. Forward-facing cameras in police cars have helped sort out many "he said, she said" situations, helping both falsely accused members of the public and cops. Cops wearing always-on cameras would be the next logical step.
posted by Triplanetary at 1:56 PM on May 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Bulgaroktonos, in the legal sense, yeah, I get that. In the real world sense; we know it happened. People have been convicted with less evidence. But they weren't cops.

And because it was cops, that means that we quite literally have nowhere to turn and no expectation of redress when rape happens. It could probably have happened on the fucking sidewalk w/ 20 people standing around and they would have gotten off. Cops shoot people in public in the back and don't go to jail. They taze old ladies to death in front of witnesses and don't go to jail. They rape prostitutes by the side of the road and don't go to jail.

Which not only makes cops dangerous, it also means that calling the cops when someone else hurts you is something you think twice about. What if they decide to hurt you too...who do you call then? With this verdict, we confirmed that the answer is: no one.
posted by emjaybee at 1:57 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


That is not a healthy way to look at the world.
posted by smackfu at 1:59 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK. How about "Police who rape women target drunk women precisely because they are less likely to be believed and less likely to handle evidence collection [ugh] correctly." I mean, I'm assuming you are not going to make an argument that police officers are statistically less likely to be rapists than the general population, right?

How about saying "people who rape women target drunk women..." instead of singling out police officers?
posted by BobbyVan at 2:01 PM on May 27, 2011


It could probably have happened on the fucking sidewalk w/ 20 people standing around and they would have gotten off.

That's hyperbole, right?
posted by incessant at 2:01 PM on May 27, 2011


That's hyperbole, right?

It's insane is what it is.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:02 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


How about saying "people who rape women target drunk women..." instead of singling out police officers?

This is a case specifically about police officers. Connect the dots, man.
posted by DarlingBri at 2:04 PM on May 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


OK. How about "Police who rape women target drunk women precisely because they are less likely to be believed and less likely to handle evidence collection [ugh] correctly."

It's still just making up theories, isn't it?
posted by smackfu at 2:08 PM on May 27, 2011


I mean, it was posted by the "all cops are evil" guy.
posted by smackfu at 2:09 PM on May 27, 2011


Can she even appeal? Jebus, what a horrible case.
posted by wowbobwow at 2:10 PM on May 27, 2011


It could probably have happened on the fucking sidewalk w/ 20 people standing around and they would have gotten off.

That's hyperbole, right?


Is it? The linked report shows that conviction rates against cops are 1/2 of what they are against civilians and when they are convicted they do less time.

Other interesting information in there - how much more prevalent sexual assault is by cop.
posted by phearlez at 2:10 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I imagine a smart knows how to NOT leave evidence.

Shouldn't the CSI effect be avoided by giving jurors brief training on DNA and other evidence? What good is it if they don't even have a basic understanding of it?
posted by snsranch at 2:11 PM on May 27, 2011


I find it hard to be outraged by the acquittal... and even if there was DNA evidence, that wouldn't necessarily prove it was rape, depending what kind of evidence. The men definitely acted unprofessionally and they deserved to be fired, I'm surprised it took as long as it did, although that could just be a procedural thing.

emjaybee, I know that they had sex, however I can't say for sure that there was a rape. There is no evidence, not even the memories of the victim, unless it is considered sexual assault to have sex with an extremely intoxicated person. If a drunk person agrees to let you punch them in the face, I'm not even sure if that would be considered assault.

It's too bad that these two 'gents' will get away with whatever it is they did, but there are no legal means to punish them appropriately. Unless a better law can be invented for this kind of situation, it is better for the guilty to go free then the innocent to be convicted by mistake. What they did was wrong and disgusting, but the legal result is not an outrage imo. I hope she wins a civil suit, however.

DarlingBri: it seems like you are trying to make an irrelevant point.
posted by ryanfou at 2:13 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


They've convinced people to expect a completely unreasonable level of evidence and documentation.

Emjaybee pointed out one problem with police procedurals [cops have to violate constitutional law to get the bad guys] so I'll point out another: They encourage a false belief in the reliability of forensic science. The National Academy of Science released report (link goes to NAAS summary with internal link to report) in 2009 criticizing the inappropriate use of forensic data in court, bad lab practices, lack of scientific foundation for forensic evidence, and lack of training for forensic "experts."

So it isn't just that jurors expect unreasonable levels of evidence and documentation, but that they believe those levels are met when they aren't. The potential for abuse is enormous, and it obscures the jury's real duty of assessing the credibility of witnesses. (But then, this is the same country where police routinely employ lie detector tests--grounds for firing for incompetence in my book--as investigative tools, even if they aren't admissible in court).
posted by Marty Marx at 2:14 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Protect and Serve" apparently does not mean what it seems to mean.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:14 PM on May 27, 2011


I'm sorry I used the word "should", biasdelb. What I was trying to say was that, even though the recommended course of action for people who have been raped is to go to the hospital immediately, many survivors of rape don't do that. It's a common, normal reaction to take a shower. I would never blame anyone for doing that. But it means that whoever does the eventual exam is less likely to find hair or other physical evidence.

I'm not victim-blaming, I promise. I've been trying not to follow this case, because I was pretty sure it would end this way, and I knew I'd have a hard time dealing with that. And I am having a hard time dealing with it. I should probably not read this thread, either, because I suspect I'll have a hard time dealing with it, too.
posted by craichead at 2:16 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


There is no evidence, not even the memories of the victim, unless it is considered sexual assault to have sex with an extremely intoxicated person.

What the fuck, are you kidding me? How does an extremely intoxicated person give consent?
posted by kmz at 2:19 PM on May 27, 2011 [26 favorites]


How about saying "people who rape women target drunk women..." instead of singling out police officers?

Because most people who rape people aren't trained to collect evidence, assess witness reliability or investigate crimes and thus aren't specifically aware of the best ways to avoid being caught?
posted by jacquilynne at 2:20 PM on May 27, 2011


unless it is considered sexual assault to have sex with an extremely intoxicated person.

I have always been under the impression that is was. Too intoxicated to make it home without help, too intoxicated to give consent.
posted by the_artificer at 2:23 PM on May 27, 2011 [13 favorites]


DNA evidence does not work this way.

Can you explain?
posted by smackfu at 2:24 PM on May 27, 2011


Shouldn't the CSI effect be avoided by giving jurors brief training on DNA and other evidence?

The testimony of a DNA scientist should provide this, if you're doing it right. There's a public education component beyond just stating "here's who I am and these are the results I got". I always try to provide enough information for the jurors to understand the basic process of developing a DNA profile, and what my results do and don't mean. But you can only simplify so much without being wrong, and there are always some whose eyes glaze over as the technical details pile up. Plus, I can only answer the questions I'm asked. Direct and cross-examination are an art, and some attorneys are better at it than others.
posted by Flannery Culp at 2:26 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


This case, and the case with the IMF director, are great examples of why women don't report rape. The odds of a meaningful conviction are negligible, and the odds that she will be dragged through the mud and brutalized by the justice system are exceedingly high.

That precious DNA evidence that CSI junkies demand? Good luck with that: A five month CBS News Investigation has found a staggering number of rape kits -- that could contain incriminating DNA evidence -- have never been sent to crime labs for testing. At least 20,000 untested kits... (as of 2009)

If a woman has had a drink, or is wearing "revealing" clothes, or has long hair, or wears makeup, or is not in a horse and buggy with a long dress and a bonnet on...she will be the one who gets to sit in the police station and take a lie detector test, often before she's taken to a hospital for a rape kit...IF she's ever taken to a hospital for a rape kit. And that's a big, big, big IF.

60% of rape is never reported, because of how the system treats women who have been raped. National Center for Policy Analysis. Crime and Punishment in America reports that if a rape is reported, there is a 50.8% chance of an arrest, if there's an arrest, there's a 80% chance of a trial, if there's a trial, there's a 58% chance of conviction, only if it's a FELONY conviction, there's a 69% chance the convicted rapist will go to prison....so, a rapist has a 16.3 percent chance of being caught and going to jail.

The United States has a significantly higher rape incidence level than most of the western world, and I believe that is because our justice system doesn't give a rat's ass about the crime. Stupid sluts shouldn't have put their vaginas out there where a penis could find them, seems to be the law of the land.

Cases like this make me wish for a Snow Crash Dentata loaded with the heaviest horse tranqs money can buy...and they should be given to every vagina bearing human on the planet. This case proves that the system will not protect us. We must protect ourselves.
posted by dejah420 at 2:28 PM on May 27, 2011 [36 favorites]


kuatto: "What? they had an audio recording of a confession? that's heinous,"

Well it was a cop and cops lie, see, so when he said he had intercourse, he was just lying. So it wasn't really a confession. Now if he had said he didn't, then of course, he did. so... that's how it all works!

(fuckin scum)
posted by symbioid at 2:30 PM on May 27, 2011


Thanks for explaining that, Flannery Culp, makes sense.
posted by snsranch at 2:31 PM on May 27, 2011


DNA evidence does not work this way.

Can you explain?


How long was the person in that bed? Were they sweating? Bleeding? Moving vigorously or just lying there? All these things affect how much DNA is left behind.

Can you tell from the DNA profile when they were there? (hint: no) Can you tell whether they were involved in sexual activity or just sleeping in that bed? (no) Can you tell if it was consensual? (no) If their DNA profile is not detected, does that mean they were never there? (no)

There's more ambiguity to DNA evidence than people think.
posted by Flannery Culp at 2:32 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Personally, I'm suspending judgment until the civil case is decided. This may be one of those cases which can't convince a jury beyond a reasonable doubt, but can convince a jury on the balance of probabilities. There's a significant gap between the higher and lower standards, and this case may rightly fall into it.

May.
posted by Capt. Renault at 2:44 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I read on Jezebel (via NY Post) earlier that the woman was shown to have bruising on her cervix, but that the defense was saying it could have been from an STD or, truly unbelievably, "vigorous shower scrubbing." So... there's that.
posted by hegemone at 2:45 PM on May 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


kmz: So then you are claiming it is illegal? It probably should be but I'm not aware that it is strictly illegal. sorry to be such a pig kmz, but it seems like she let them in multiple times, I don't think the consent issue is black and white.

I agree with everybody claiming that the lack of DNA evidence should not be critical to the case at all. To me, it is 100% guaranteed that there was some kind of inappropriate sexual activity going on, penetration or not. If she was intoxicated and she cannot legally give consent, then
posted by ryanfou at 2:48 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


the acquittal would be outrageous.

Also, isn't it telling how they accuse her of being a complete liar, but they 'wish her no harm'.
posted by ryanfou at 2:51 PM on May 27, 2011


bruising on her cervix..could have been from vigorous shower scrubbing

What? Perhaps women shower differently than I thought they did.
posted by King Bee at 2:51 PM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


"and also bad is how many perps talk to the cops (especially CSI) w/out ever asking for a lawyer. And then they confess and it's off to jail, roll credits. Because that's the way it should be, because, America."

Actually, that's the number one way that detectives solve crimes — unforced confessions from people who don't exercise their rights. This is because criminals are generally both stupid and ignorant.

"There is no evidence, not even the memories of the victim, unless it is considered sexual assault to have sex with an extremely intoxicated person."

Yeah, it pretty much is. If you have sex with someone who can't legally consent, you're banking on their good graces to not charge you with sexual assault. Sorry if that ruins someone's weekend.
posted by klangklangston at 2:54 PM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


What? Perhaps women shower differently than I thought they did.

Well, I know I thought I was the only woman who brushed and flossed their vagina regularly, but I guess it's a more common thing than I thought, too.

Scrubbing? SERIOUSLY?
posted by hegemone at 3:00 PM on May 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


"(But then, this is the same country where police routinely employ lie detector tests--grounds for firing for incompetence in my book--as investigative tools, even if they aren't admissible in court)."

Lie detector tests aren't admissible in court, but are a valuable tool for investigations, in large part because suspects believe that they work. They're nowhere near infallible (hence inadmissible), but they're routine here in LA because they do give a general sense of what questions make someone more or less nervous.

But mostly, they're used as part of the interrogation process because people who think they're being monitored by a machine that can tell if they lie are more likely to trip themselves up if they do lie.
posted by klangklangston at 3:01 PM on May 27, 2011


I'm gonna leave a sad note for the burden on women to fight back, not because they're violated, not because they're terrified, but because they need to prove a rape conviction via DNA.
posted by angrycat at 3:02 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


the_artificer, klangklangston, thanks yous for the information.
posted by ryanfou at 3:02 PM on May 27, 2011


Lie detector tests aren't admissible in court, but are a valuable tool for investigations, in large part because suspects believe that they work.

"We pretty much believe whatever we're told"
posted by formless at 3:19 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lie detector tests aren't admissible in court

Yes they are, absent banning in certain regions. The refusal of an individual to agree to one is not admissible because it runs up against self-incrimination. But they absolutely may be admitted in some states and some federal trials (unless something has changed via a ruling from the Supremes in recent years, which I would be astonished that I missed noticing).
posted by phearlez at 3:38 PM on May 27, 2011


The United States has a significantly higher rape incidence level than most of the western world, and I believe that is because our justice system doesn't give a rat's ass about the crime.

Or it could be that the USA doesn't have a significantly higher rape incidence. The best statistics available are from the U.N. and while the USA is higher than a lot of Western countries, it is on par with (for example) the U.K. and New Zealand, and hugely lower than Sweden. Which is given as the second highest in the world. Is that because Sweden is swarming with rapists? No, it's because as the UN itself says these statistics do not for obvious reasons include unreported or unrecorded rapes.

The fact that the USA is relatively high on the UN list isn't evidence that it has a significantly higher rape incidence level, it is evidence that women actually tend to report rapes here and the cops tend to record them at a much higher rate than in other places. Yes, that's awful because so many rapes go unreported even in the USA. But it is worse elsewhere. For example, the UN statistics show Egypt having the lowest rate of rape in the world in 2009. Is that because there are no rapists in Egypt? No, it's because women do not report rape and if they do, the cops do not record it.

You have to be careful with these sorts of statistics.
posted by Justinian at 3:49 PM on May 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


so, a rapist has a 16.3 percent chance of being caught and going to jail.

Just playing devil's advocate here, but I think you are not entirely correct: a reported rapist has a 16.3% chance of going to jail. It is unreasonable to assume that all reported rape is actual rape. There must be _some_ false reporting going on, although one might argue it is negligible due to social pressure against reporting.
posted by Dr Dracator at 3:51 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


(Oh, Canada also tends to have much higher reported levels of rape, on the order of twice as high or more, than the USA. I put forward the idea that Canada is not full of rapists either but has a very good criminal justice system which encourages women to report)
posted by Justinian at 3:51 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Yes they are, absent banning in certain regions. The refusal of an individual to agree to one is not admissible because it runs up against self-incrimination. But they absolutely may be admitted in some states and some federal trials (unless something has changed via a ruling from the Supremes in recent years, which I would be astonished that I missed noticing)."

According to Wikipedia, they're only admissible in 19 states, and the last ruling was in 1998 (US v. Scheffer). But in looking around a bit, it looks like they're a lot more admissible than I believed.
posted by klangklangston at 3:55 PM on May 27, 2011


This case, and the case with the IMF director, are great examples of why women don't report rape.

Can you elaborate on the IMF director thing? Because that looks to me like a textbook example of how the justice system is supposed to operate? I mean... the dude got yanked off an international flight hours after the alleged assault. His money was no shield. His political power was no shield. His fame was no shield. Their gigantic disparity in socioeconomic class was no shield. He was initially denied even bail and had his ass thrown into Rikers. She hasn't been villified or even identified in the American press. How could it possibly have been handled better from her point of view?
posted by Justinian at 3:56 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reading about the cops' lawyer is pretty interesting. The self-promotion on his firm's website; a 2009 article that discusses his police-related cases. How do police officers afford such a high-powered attorney?
posted by Houstonian at 4:00 PM on May 27, 2011


"What proof does a woman have to have?" Some kind of physical evidence or a witness, apparently, or at least a coherent memory of the crime. I think these cops raped that woman, but I think so based on a preponderance of the evidence, and I'm very glad that's not the standard for conviction in our criminal courts.

Although having been unjustly acquitted a couple of times in my day I may not be standing solely on principle here...
posted by Now I'm Prune Tracy! at 4:06 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm at least as incensed at the admitted dereliction of duty on the part of the officers. Two years isn't enough.

Assuming that the officers did tell the truth, and did not perjure themselves, they:

1) Spooned and took a nap while on duty.

-Mata was likely making $55-70k/year and Moreno was likely making $76-90k/year, not including overtime and benefits. Even if they were office workers, they're too well paid to be repeatedly leaving their job to spoon and sleep.

-Mata was on the force for 5 years, and Moreno was on the force for 17 years. The average person, at an average job, knows better than to be napping and cuddling while on the clock. Even if the average person did not know that, they would probably be able to pick up on the fact over the course of 5 or 17 years.

2) Made a bogus 911 call

-I think this counts as "filing a false police report," which is either a misdemeanor or a felony, depending on the severity. I am not sure why this charge wasn't included, unless the false call wasn't immediately apparent? If so, maybe they could still be brought up on this?

-I knew not to do this when I was a child. How did two police officers not understand that they shouldn't be faking a call to 911?

3) Were not available, while on an overnight shift, to do police work. If I recall correctly, they weren't responding to their radio while "counseling" the woman. "Oh, I'm sorry I couldn't respond to your 2 a.m. break-in, or your car being stolen, or keep you from being stabbed. I was busy repeatedly visiting a woman who was periodically blacking out what she should do with her life."

Beyond a reasonable doubt or not, this is the shit they admitted to doing. Official misconduct does not even begin to cover what's wrong, here.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 4:08 PM on May 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


And then there's this: "The officers were charged with burglary for re-entering the woman’s apartment. In a search of Officer Moreno’s locker later that month, police officials found a packet of heroin, and he faces a misdemeanor drug possession charge. Officer Mata was charged with tampering with evidence for failing to produce his memo book, in which officers log their activities and movements."
posted by Houstonian at 4:17 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Justinian: "Can you elaborate on the IMF director thing? "

Because the first thing the French press did is publish her name, where she lives, what religion she was, and proceeded to make her out to be the bad person.
posted by dejah420 at 4:35 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


.
posted by ericb at 4:41 PM on May 27, 2011


Because the first thing the French press did is publish her name, where she lives, what religion she was, and proceeded to make her out to be the bad person.

Oh, okay. Yes, I agree that the French press and the French judicial system are part of the problem. I thought you meant the way the alleged victim was treated by the US press or US judicial system.
posted by Justinian at 4:55 PM on May 27, 2011


"the woman was shown to have bruising on her cervix, but that the defense was saying it could have been from an STD or, truly unbelievably, "vigorous shower scrubbing.""

Right. Because after a long day, I like to get blackout drunk and then take a long shower where I scrub myself so hard from behind that I bruise my own cervix. Sometimes I even take three. But I don't really remember. It could be that or...oh! Let me remind you of STDs...we know what kind of people get those, right? I mean really, I sometimes wonder whether I am sexually diseased or just a forgetful moron who can't reliably recount how I bathe...I dunno, you decide? But god forbid Ockham's razor that I'm actually that pesky third option...you know, rape victim.
posted by iamkimiam at 5:00 PM on May 27, 2011 [9 favorites]


Unjustly acquitted for rape, NIPT?
posted by brujita at 5:37 PM on May 27, 2011


Ack. That was supposed to be, "blacking out, to tell her what to do with her life."

Houstonian- Holy crap. I hadn't even heard that part. Any idea what happened with that charge? I'm not finding anything.
posted by evidenceofabsence at 5:51 PM on May 27, 2011


Hi, I read all the links and then found some more, and I just want to point out that Moreno was accused of the actual rape, while Mata was accused of being a lookout to make sure he wasn't caught.

Moreno *says* that as a recovering/former alcoholic himself, he developed a rapport with the woman, they talked, they sang songs, she came onto him and he turned her down but basically stayed to comfort her. Because of course it's okay for an officer to falsify records and sneak back to this woman's place not once but three times if he just wants to comfort her! And Malta didn't even have that comforting excuse to explain anything he did.

Oh, and:

A forensic examiner said there was bruising on the victim's cervix that confirmed her claim that she was attacked from behind. The defense tried to explain this away by calling the bruise a "minor blemish," and suggesting that it could have come from a venereal disease or injury during a "vigorous shower scrubbing." (via)

I understand that the jury was bothered by not having more to go on than he said/she said, but with the bruising, the film footage, and the falsifying records, that seems like a preponderance of evidence that they were up to no good.

Still, jurors claimed that the prosecution just didn't prove the case:

"No one is ever going to know what happened in that apartment because [the victim] was blacked out," Richard Schimenti said. "The prosecution really failed to prove their case. There was no evidence of a rape - except that she said it."

Which is confusing, because he seems to contradict that,

While the fashion exec's emotional story seemed credible on the stand, when her words were read back by a court reporter, it "made us feel that her testimony was built by the prosecution," he said.
(via)


Also, I found this interesting, because the tape didn't seem to hold weight since Moreno denied, not once but 24 times, having sex with the victim, but then when she asked if he wore a condom, he finally said, "yes, I did":

Moreno’s lawyer, Joseph Tacopina, who took some heat for calling his client a “simpleton” in closing arguments, called the verdict “justice.”

The jury didn’t buy the accuser’s story and placed little faith in what prosecutors thought was their best evidence – a secret recording in which Moreno seemingly admits to the rape, he said.

“I think they accepted it for what it was,” Tacopina said. “He said on that tape 24 times that he did not have sex with that woman.”
(via)

Does anyone else find the wording of that--echoing Bill Clinton's infamous denial of something he later admitted doing--telling in this case?
posted by misha at 6:31 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find it hard to be outraged by the acquittal

Well, when you've had three of your friends raped and treated like shit by the cops when reporting it (because, whoops! They'd been drinking! [2 parties, 1 date] So it's totally their fault, right? Despite doing what their male counterparts do all the freaking time without a second thought)...and then 2 of the 3 are treated poorly by hospital staff when they go for the rape kit.

Anyhow, when I come home after partying with my friends, I know I always end the night washing myself in the shower with a dishmop on a stick, making sure my cervix is squeaky clean. W.T.F.
posted by smirkette at 6:41 PM on May 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


the woman was shown to have bruising on her cervix, but that the defense was saying it could have been from an STD or, truly unbelievably, "vigorous shower scrubbing."

Um, does the defense know what and where the cervix is? Could the defense explain how the average woman can even reach her own cervix well enough to bruise it while standing up in the shower?
posted by desuetude at 6:48 PM on May 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Can she even appeal? Jebus, what a horrible case.

In the US an acquittal cannot be appealed. Further, the victim is not actually a party to the criminal case. It's "The People of the State of New York v. Defendant" not "Victim v. Defendant" (though it will be Victim v. Defendant in the civil case).

I hope she takes both the officers and the city for all they're worth in the civil case, the officers for being scum and the city for failing to keep scum out of the police department.
posted by jedicus at 6:53 PM on May 27, 2011


that seems like a preponderance of evidence that they were up to no good.

The thing is, preponderance of evidence is the standard in a civil case not a criminal one. Criminal cases require more.

Not that I don't think the evidence here may have risen to the higher "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard. I'm just saying that "preponderance of the evidence" isn't enough to convict someone in a criminal case. You can think someone probably did a crime while still be ethically bound to acquit them.
posted by Justinian at 7:00 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


"You can think someone probably did a crime while still be ethically bound to acquit them."

Which is what happened when I was on a jury for an alleged drunk driver. We all thought it was probable that he did it, but the prosecution failed to prove it.
posted by klangklangston at 7:26 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's also what happened when I was on a jury when three guys were charged with putting multiple bullets into the head of a 16 year old kid while he was kneeling on the ground, so it's not a theoretical thing for me. And that's as serious a case as it gets.
posted by Justinian at 7:31 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


(Ok, to be more precise it is what happened to one of the defendants. The jury hung on the other two.)
posted by Justinian at 7:33 PM on May 27, 2011


it seems like she let them in multiple times, I don't think the consent issue is black and white.
posted by ryanfou at 4:48 PM on May 27


She was unconscious. Presumably they let themselves in.
posted by joannemerriam at 7:47 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]




bilabial: "DNA evidence is hard to get. As a woman, one of the most consistent pieces of advice I've gotten is, "If you get attacked, scratch him as much as you can. Get as much skin under your nails as possible, so that there is some chance of getting DNA."

If you're not conscious, you're not collecting DNA. If you're a police officer, you know that your unconcious victim is not collecting DNA.
"

That the defendant claims that she was raped while laying face down on a bed would also, I'm guessing, decrease the probability of leaving physical evidence. Much more likely that something - a scratching or a bite - will occur if the victim is on their back. And while I have never had that enter my mind before, I am thinking police officers are going to have a fully canvassed knowledge of how to correctly beat various forensic methodologies.

I am grateful for the civil lawsuit, at least, and that the NYPD fired them. I am not looking forward to the next two hours, though, where I will almost certainly depress myself by searching every detail of this horrible case.
posted by scunning at 8:37 PM on May 27, 2011


It took me a while to read through the comments, so this is not to detract from the thread at all, but regarding the CSI Effect, here is a June 2010 paper by Emily Owens, an economist at Cornell Dept of Human Ecology, on the issue (here). It's an interesting study, and she finds evidence for the effect, but primarily in how it affects convictions through plea bargaining. Interestingly, on average she finds that CSI popularity is weakly correlated with higher conviction rates. But if she focuses just on "jurisdictions with small or unproductive forensic labs", then she finds that the popularity of CSI is associated with lower conviction rates. Worth checking out.

Most likely, I'm thinking if you take her study's findings, then probably NYC is not going to be the place where you'd expect a CSI effect to be the dominating factor. That there was, in the end, no strong lines of forensic evidence, and that she blacked out during the attacks, the real problem.
posted by scunning at 9:02 PM on May 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm just back from a protest/demonstration/march that took place at the courthouse and One Police Plaza tonight- a demonstration not against the jurors or the police force as a whole, but rather against the culture within the police force and within society in general that will still prefer to believe that a drunk, vomiting, blacking out woman is a liar and a seductress and her word is less credible than that of the police officer who was proven to be a liar multiple times, even lying while under oath.

Legal experts
seemed to be expecting a guilty verdict, but I am a lot more cynical (or realistic?) and thought the trial would end with a hung jury. I've been walking around feeling like someone kicked me in the stomach ever since the news broke yesterday.
posted by stagewhisper at 9:11 PM on May 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm really conflicted about the verdict, because I too felt like they did it... but if I were on the jury would I be convinced? I don't know. It's a serious thing to convict someone of a crime like that. I think it's important to remember that Mata and Moreno are human beings, not symbols, which is hard because sex crimes and police abuses of authority are both really upsetting topics that are rife with injustice and imbalances of power. But, the fact that lots of cops abuse their authority and get away with it, and the fact that lots victims of rapes get a raw deal, don't mean these particular people are guilty, or that they're obligated to be scapegoats for the misdeeds of groups (cops and men) that they belong to. They were acquitted because it can be really hard to prove these things beyond a reasonable doubt, and they're entitled to a presumption of innocence like everyone else, and locking them up if they were innocent wouldn't solve anything.
posted by dixiecupdrinking at 9:13 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Point: Do YOU want to be on a jury that convicts a cop? Are you sure? I think this is the main reason police are almost never convicted of anything, even when they're so obviously guilty the whole city laughs out loud when the acquittal comes in.

How did they get into her apartment so many times if she didn't let them in? They took her key the first time, of course.

Bruising her cervix by vigorous scrubbing? Get real, folks. You'd have to be really dense to believe this was even possible, let alone likely.

Moreno said 24 times that he didn't have sex with this woman - but he did use a condom. Wow. When Bill Clinton said he did not have sex with that woman, it was because to him, a blow job is not the same thing as sex - sex is intercourse; that's the way most of us Clinton's age used to think - until it all hit the fan with him and we found out that when we hear the word "sex" we're not supposed to image penis into vagina - nope, now "sex" includes a whole range of different activities involving genitalia. But Moreno now - the "sex" he had with this woman involved a condom - that's just a teensy-weensy bit different, in my book, anyway.

Moreno has been on the force there for 17 years - and had heroin in his locker. What a prize. It's just too bad that when she vomited, she didn't do it in his face.
posted by aryma at 9:39 PM on May 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


According to Wikipedia, they're only admissible in 19 states, and the last ruling was in 1998 (US v. Scheffer). But in looking around a bit, it looks like they're a lot more admissible than I believed.

Wow. That surprised me too. Color me pretty embarrassed at my glib claim they were excluded everywhere. I still think it is incompetent to believe that a mind-reading machine works, especially given the lack of any understanding of how mental states like beliefs relate to our physical states, much less physical states that can be read with polygraph monitors. And even granting that polygraph examiners are reading this correlation (rather than relying on their own judgment about truthtelling), the correlation isn't strong enough to make me at all comfortable with the name "lie-detector."

Now, if investigators don't believe they have a mind-reading machine but are just telling suspects they do in order to extract a confession, well, that's not incompetent, but I don't think it's right. You'll get confessions, but they may be lies themselves if the suspect believes no one will buy her alibi now that the mind-reading device says she's guilty.

FWIW, one of the favorite rape "studies" MRA folks like to cite is the town where the police offered to give any woman who reported a rape a lie detector test. By (incorrectly) assuming that any women who then dropped her complaint was lying, the author generates some absurdly high rate of false claims of rape--something like 40% I believe. That's clearly not correct, so I don't have great confidence that lie detectors are useful for tricking people into telling the truth, either.

posted by Marty Marx at 10:59 PM on May 27, 2011


desuetude writes "Um, does the defense know what and where the cervix is? Could the defense explain how the average woman can even reach her own cervix well enough to bruise it while standing up in the shower?"

Not saying it's likely however something like [Rule34; NSFW] this masturbation video, specifically 8 minutes in.
posted by Mitheral at 11:02 PM on May 27, 2011


Cops always seem to get the benefit of this "reasonable doubt". They need to be held to a much higher standard than they are.
posted by TheKM at 11:44 PM on May 27, 2011


FWIW, I believe she was raped, there was too much funny business, yet until I heard the cervix issue, which the press didn't report at all, I thought there wasn't enough evidence to *prove* it, since he is obviously going to say he didn't do it, she was so drunk that she couldn't give consent, but this does mean that her memory might not be 100% reliable. Not to blame the victim, but I wouldn't want to convict anybody of anything based on a person (woman or man) who was so drunk that he or she blacked out. This case makes me wish that really really drunken memories weren't be admissible in court at all.

I did read the full transcript of the encounter she taped, and she repeatedly asked him if he used a condom , or if she has to worry about STDs. He repeatedly says no you have nothing to worry about, nothing happened, until finally he sort of said yes - the yes was qualified, not unlike a confession of someone who has been interrogated and finally is worn out. Now I don't freakin' believe him, even in the transcript he sort of has something to hide, because you'd have thought if nothing happened, he'd say lady nothing happened, good-bye -you wouldn't keep on talking, but just by reading the transcript, it isn't a slam dunk admission of guilt at all.

But here is a question for Metafilter's in-house counsel

Surely there must be a crime in NY (state or city) that is of a lesser "severity" than rape, but greater than, say exposing oneself on the subway?

I remember my mother telling me that once when she was a girl she felt something warm on her arm on the subway and turned around and saw a man's erect penis on her arm and a man smiling at her. She screamed the man (somehow) got away.

Obviously that wasn't rape,but it was a hell of a lot more than a man exposing himself. Since Moreno admitted to spooning with the victim, and since the victim was too drunk to give consent, her testimony was irrelevent, it would seem to me that a felony sexual misconduct or felony sexual assault (but lesser "legally" than rape) charge that would be would be a 'slam-dunk."

Just asking.

Sometimes you gotta go for the slam-dunks.
posted by xetere at 3:56 AM on May 28, 2011




TheKM, if you're suggesting that police officers should be held to a very high standard of conduct in their professional lives, we agree. If you're suggesting that they should be tried in a criminal cases based on a lower standard of proof than civilians, then you're working for something other than justice.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 5:09 AM on May 28, 2011


Just to put this out there...what about the possibility of a person blacking out or not remembering a very traumatic incident, such as being raped?

I'm not trying to say that her blacking out is proof of rape or that she wasn't drunk, but that not all blacking out is solely alcohol-induced. It's not unheard of to black out, have denial or suffer from amnesia or post-traumatic stress as a result of rape.
posted by iamkimiam at 6:49 AM on May 28, 2011


Just to put this out there...what about the possibility of a person blacking out or not remembering a very traumatic incident, such as being raped?

I'm not trying to say that her blacking out is proof of rape or that she wasn't drunk, but that not all blacking out is solely alcohol-induced. It's not unheard of to black out, have denial or suffer from amnesia or post-traumatic stress as a result of rape.


One issue with this case though iamkimiam is that she *does* remembered being raped- or at least she testified that she awoke to being penetrated so hard from behind that she though her head was going to go through the window:

"I woke up because the action of his penetration was so hard that my head was moving toward the window ... like it was going to go through it"

a new twist on the tone argument- until you ladies get angrier we aren't going to take you seriously
posted by stagewhisper at 7:37 AM on May 28, 2011


snsranch: "Shouldn't the CSI effect be avoided by giving jurors brief training on DNA and other evidence? What good is it if they don't even have a basic understanding of it?"

It is hard to teach people about something they are convinced they already know.
posted by idiopath at 7:39 AM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Point: Do YOU want to be on a jury that convicts a cop? Are you sure? I think this is the main reason police are almost never convicted of anything, even when they're so obviously guilty the whole city laughs out loud when the acquittal comes in.

Give me the choice between serving as a juror on a cop trial vs. a drug dealer trial, a gang trial, or a mob trial... I'll take the cop trial any day of the week.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:11 PM on May 28, 2011


The whole things sucks. These two ding-dongs are, at *best*, an embarrassment to all good, hard-working cops. Good riddance to them.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:56 PM on May 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


. for my arrogant fucking city and its constant defense and/or celebration of its worst elements.
posted by Football Bat at 8:02 PM on May 28, 2011


Bulgaroktonos, I'm suggesting that there is apparently, based on the results the justice system returns, no proof strong enough to convict a cop of the most serious offenses. I
posted by TheKM at 1:41 PM on May 29, 2011


Here is an interesting and (highly problematic) interview with a juror who is a self-described feminist. She talks about why she voted to find the cops "not guilty".

Contradictions abound.
posted by stagewhisper at 8:43 AM on June 3, 2011


I found this part of the interview troubling:
Q: Did the prosecutor emphasize that a woman who is drunk is unable to consent to sexual activity?

A: I don't believe so, but I'm not sure. In any case, what if the consent comes out of your mouth and you don't remember it because you've blacked out?
I don't know what the law says, but as far as I am concerned, if you are in a state where you won't remember whether you consented or not, you cannot meaningfully give consent. It's the moral equivalent to fucking someone that's been slipped roophies.

The fact that the jury was apparently not briefed on this makes me think that either New York law considers a blackout drunk woman to be capable of informed consent, or something was really messed up with that trial.
posted by idiopath at 9:45 AM on June 3, 2011


Near as I can tell, the defense's argument wasn't that they had consexual sex, it was that they didn't have sex at all. A briefing on consent wouldn't seem to be required under those circumstances.
posted by jacquilynne at 10:30 AM on June 3, 2011 [1 favorite]


That interview that stagewhisper links to is just weird. First:

In any case, what if the consent comes out of your mouth and you don't remember it because you've blacked out?

Well, the police were there because she was too drunk to get out of a cab, so surely even if she begged them for sex they would know that she was not consenting. And then there's this:

Perhaps if there were women demonstrating outside the courthouse every day it may have helped the jurors be more aware and more conscious of their verdicts.

This implies that they would know about the demonstrations, and that they would be more (or less) conscientious depending on the interest level of the general public.
posted by Houstonian at 3:39 PM on June 3, 2011




Wow, homunculus. Thanks for the link.
This system is broken.
posted by stagewhisper at 2:34 PM on June 7, 2011




Things that cause rape
posted by homunculus at 1:02 PM on June 9, 2011 [2 favorites]


The victim in this case has released a statement to the New York Times. I found her remarks about the police during her trial and the staff at the DA's office to be remarkable.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:51 PM on June 9, 2011


> Here is an interesting and (highly problematic) interview with a juror who is a self-described feminist. She talks about why she voted to find the cops "not guilty".

This doesn't make a lot of sense, she seems to believe that the victim was raped yet there's more than a whiff of victim-blaming, and her non-guilty vote seems to hinge on DNA evidence being a de facto requirement to convict? I dunno, her tone seems odd to me too, like she was just totally ground down.
posted by desuetude at 9:38 PM on June 9, 2011


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