Thursday, February 12, 2015

Jessica Valenti tries to justify her hostility to due process for men with a rationale that doesn't hold water

Valenti writes:
The concern over due process in campus adjudication procedures are also misplaced. In The New York Times, Judith Shulevitz bemoans the Department of Education guidelines that instruct schools to use a "preponderance of evidence" standard in rape cases, as if such a thing is unheard of. But this is the same standard of evidence that’s required when a rape victim sues her attacker in civil court.
This a frequent refrain from people who are willing to tolerate the academy's hostility to due process as the price of battling the imaginary sexual assault "epidemic." It doesn't hold up to scrutiny, but why would Jessica Valenti be concerned about that?

What Valenti and others who chant that line don't seem to understand is that in civil cases, the defendant is afforded all manner of evidentiary protections that colleges routinely deny young men accused of sex offenses. In civil cases, defendants are allowed to be fully represented by counsel at every stage of the proceeding. They are permitted to vigorously depose prior to trial, and vigorously cross-examine during trial, the accuser and any other pertinent witnesses. Aside from depositions, they are also permitted to engage in all manner of discovery, including proffering requests for admissions, requests for production of documents, and interrogatories. And if the plaintiff fails to respond to proper discovery requests, she is sanctioned by the court, up to and including dismissal of her case and requiring her to pay the other side's attorney's fees. Hearsay evidence is excluded, as is evidence whose probative value is outweighed by its prejudicial effect to a party. Trial and appellate judges are lawyers bound by centuries of common law precedent. And the defendant has a hand in picking the jury in order to insure fairness in the adjudication.

The college kangaroo sex proceeding has no relation to the orderly administration of justice in civil court. If Valenti and her ilk are so fond of civil proceedings for college sex offenses, let's actually do them the way it's done in real court.