The Limits of Legal Reforms
Reformers clearly had high hopes for the rape law reforms, but the results of our multijurisdiction study suggest that their expectations were overly optimistic. On the positive side, judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys in all of the jurisdictions expressed support for the reforms, which they believe have improved the treatment of rape victims. Officials in all six cities also stated that evidence of the victim’s past sexual conduct with casual acquaintances is irrelevant and is unlikely to be admitted at trial. Finally, officials in jurisdictions with strong shield laws were less likely than officials in jurisdictions with weak laws to believe that sexual history evidence of more questionable relevance should or would be admitted at trial.
KeywordsSexual Conduct Criminal Justice Criminal Justice System Rape Victim Defense Attorney
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