April, 1981 Home   Newsletters

May-June, 1981

July-August, 1981

Rape and the Law
President's Message (Barbara Farwell)
Annual Meeting Report
Would You Believe?
New Appointee
We're Not Perfect (Wendie Wong)
New LWV Publications
International Scene - An Introduction (Dottie Gullicksen)
Nominating Committee Report - State LWV Officers
Delegates to Convention
Nuclear Waste in Pacific? (Anna Hoover)
Down with LOLITSI! (Astrid Monson)
Housing Legislation (Vi Gren)
HECO Update
State Convention '81 "Through the Looking Glass"

"The criminal justice system stinks," Charles Marsland, the City's Prosecuting Attorney, said at the meeting to discuss Rape & the Law, cosponsored by LWV and AAUW. He said that all the safeguards are for the protection of the defendant. He also claimed it's "a game" and not a search for justice or truth.

Erick Moon, a Public Defense attorney, defended the system saying there are good reasons for the procedures that protect the rights of the individual, especially if we believe a person is innocent until proven guilty. He said that in the recent gang rape trial, the prosecutor "dropped the ball," that he should have won the case.

Prof. Harry Ball confirmed that the U.S. has the most liberal system in the history of the world in terms of defendant's rights. He also felt that given the adversary system that we have, the defense attorney has an ethical responsibility to do the best for his client.

One of the questions asked was: If it's true that the outcome of a trial is determined by how clever or bright the attorney is, how important is the law itself? Rep. Kate Stanley felt the law was fundamental to the system but that improvements could be made. Broad changes, however, take a long time, and that is as it should be. The last minute changes to the rape law this session improved it somewhat, but there was no time for major revisions such as changing rape to assault. That will come in time, she said. The legislature has been working on it for two years and will continue.

It was a lively discussion ably moderated by Joan Chatfield, AAUW. Dispensing with the usual presentations by the panelists, Chatfield collected written questions from the audience and separated them into topics which the panelists then addressed. They began with the problems of the rape victim and moved into an attorney's' responsibility to society, our laws, and the judicial system. At 9:30 when the meeting was formally ended, the panelists were still answering questions from an audience eager to learn more.

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