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Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Nifong Standards


There are two extremes for "Burden of Proof" in bringing rape charges against someone.

Both forms of extremist standards must be fought.

The most extreme standard for "Burden of Proof" of a rape is found in Pakistan under a Hudood Ordinance. Crimes classified under Hudood are the most severe of crimes and carry severe punishments.

Under [Pakistan's] long-standing Hudood Ordinances, a woman who claims to have been raped must produce four Muslim male eyewitnesses to the crime - a virtual impossibility in most cases. If the witnesses cannot be produced, the rape victim herself can be charged with fornication, or adultery if she is already married, a crime punishable in the most stringent circumstances by death.

As The Christian Science Monitor reports activists are trying to change the Hudood Ordinances:
This, and other provisions regarding public morality, have prompted calls from human rights activists and progressives for repeal of the Hudood Ordinances since their inception in 1979. The push for changing the laws gathered steam this summer after a private television channel initiated a series of debates on whether the laws are indeed rooted in the Koran and the Sunna (the sayings of Muhammad), as some religious conservatives contend.

The least extreme standard for "Burden of Proof" of a rape is found in Durham County, North Carolina under the Nifong Standards. The Nifong Standards were established for rape charges as demonstrated in the Duke lacrosse rape case of 2006. Crimes classified under the Nifong Standards are very serious crimes, carry severe punishments, but are not based on any real evidence. They are used to further the promulgators personal advancement or election.

The Nifong Standards:

>No witnesses of alleged rape
>No collaboration of alleged victim's statement by witnesses
>No consistency in the alleged victim's statements
>No DNA or definitive forensic evidence
>No evidence of date-rape drug
>No physical injuries matching the description of the attack
>No identification of assailants for three weeks (and two prior failed ID sessions)
>No 100% positive ID required. The standard is "about 90%" & mustaches are optional.
>No validation of photo-identification procedures used
>No motive or opportunity for suspects to commit crime
>No credibility for the alleged victim

The Nifong Standards may also be generously laced with police and prosecutorial misconduct, as they are in Durham. Those variables can be handled by each jurisdiction on a case-by-case basis.

As the The Johnsville News has been reporting activists are trying to change the Nifong Standards:
This, and other provisions regarding public morality, have prompted calls from human rights activists (and bloggers) and progressives for repeal of the Nifong Standards since their inception in April of 2006. The push for changing the Nifong Standards gathered steam this summer after massive public scrutiny of the evidence and whether the standards are indeed rooted in any commonsense application of probable cause. The lies and sayings of Mike Nifong in the public record have stoked the debate.

Somewhere between these two extremes lies some commonsense middle ground for proving a rape allegation.

Pakistan to broaden rape laws, but women's groups see setback [csmonitor.com, Sept 13, 2006]


LieStoppers looks at the twisted logic of The Nifong Standards:
In consideration of the outrageous transparency of the Duke Hoax, and the revelation that 13 of 25 rape and first-degree sex offense cases were dismissed last year, we can’t help wondering exactly what it takes for a case to be dismissed in Durham County. Given the statistics that show that cases of this sort are far more likely to be dismissed than brought to trial
Fun With Numbers [LieStoppers, Sept. 14, 2006]

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