Innocence Is No Excuse

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The totalitarian
mentality of the feminist domestic violence industry was on display
recently at the New York Times, where two lawyers outline
plans for suspending the Bill of Rights. The Times normally
postures as a champion of civil liberties, but when the malefactors
belong to politically unfashionable groups then innocence is no
excuse. Only the guilty need constitutional protections, and we
may as well just string them up.

"When
Words Bear Witness"
is a more appropriate headline than
Michael Rips and Amy Lester may realize, since their own words reveal
the brave new world the feminists and bar associations are creating
around the trumped-up issue of "domestic violence."

"Domestic
violence accounts for up to 34% of all reported violent crimes,"
they state. Given that government authorities define domestic "violence"
as "name-calling and constant criticizing, insulting, and belittling,"
it would appear that many "reported violent crimes" are
not very violent.

"Reported"
crimes are also not proven crimes, and strong incentives exist to
report violence where none has taken place. Fabricating abuse accusations
ensures custody of children and marital property during divorce.
The custody battles are lucrative for lawyers, whose bar associations
control judicial appointments and promotions, which is why patently
false accusations are treated as fact.

This perversion
of the justice system is now common knowledge among legal practitioners.
Thomas Kasper recently described in the Illinois Bar Journal
how false accusations readily “become part of the gamesmanship
of divorce." Bar associations and even courts themselves sponsor
divorce seminars counseling mothers on how to fabricate abuse accusations.
"The number of women attending the seminars who smugly — indeed
boastfully — announced that they had already sworn out false or
grossly exaggerated domestic violence complaints against their hapless
husbands, and that the device worked!" astonished Thomas Kiernan,
writing in the New Jersey Law Journal. "To add amazement
to my astonishment, the lawyer-lecturers invariably congratulated
the self-confessed miscreants." The UMKC Law Review
reports a survey of judges and attorneys found complaints of disregard
for due process and allegations of domestic violence used as a "litigation
strategy."

Since most
reports involve no crime, it is hardly surprising that domestic
violence, as Rips and Lester claim, "is notoriously difficult
to prosecute, because [alleged?] victims frequently drop charges
or refuse to testify when their [alleged?] abusers [allegedly?]
threaten them with further violence." What is this "further
violence"? "One study found that many such witnesses received
threats that their children would be kidnapped if they testified,"
says Joan Meier of George Washington University. Their children
kidnapped! These wife-beaters are so sophisticated they have organized
child kidnapping operations to intimidate witnesses. Translation:
The accusations are concocted to separate the children from their
fathers, and the fathers understandably want their children back.
Each lie necessitates another.

Rips and
Lester continue: "In the 1980′s and 1990′s, the refusal of
[alleged?] victims to cooperate in the prosecution of their [alleged?]
batterers may have resulted in the dismissal of as many as 70% of
all domestic violence cases." The refusal of Rips and Lester
to observe the presumption of innocence in their writing is not
only standard in feminist literature; it pervades state and federal
statutes, including the notorious Violence Against Women Act, for
which Congress is now considering appropriations. VAWA grants encourage
governments to "mandate and encourage police officers to arrest
[alleged?] abusers." It is more likely that the cases were
dismissed because there was no evidence, because there was no violence
and no crime, and because the objective of obtaining custody was
accomplished.

But now
we can secure convictions even when there is no evidence, no victim,
and no crime: "Prosecutors, police officers, and advocates
for domestic violence victims have developed techniques, together
known as u2018evidence-based prosecution,' that focus on the use of
reliable evidence, like 911 tapes, to build cases that do not depend
on the cooperation of the [alleged?] victim." As with the Ministry
of Truth, "evidence-based prosecution" is designed to
convict those against whom you have no evidence. And since the defendant
— excuse me, the "batterer" — can be convicted using hearsay,
with no right to face his accuser, it is not really necessary that
there even be an accuser, or for that matter a crime.

It is not
difficult to see where this is going. In Britain, "special
domestic violence courts" allow third parties such as civil
servants and pressure groups to use "relaxed rules of evidence
and the lower burden of proof" to bring actions against those
they identify as batterers, even if no alleged "victim"
comes forward (or even exists). "Victim support groups,"
who say women "should be spared having to take legal action,"
can now act in the name of an anonymous or purported plaintiff to
seize the children, homes, and other property of men who have not
been convicted of any crime. Similar "domestic violence courts"
are being created in the United States and Canada, where "conviction
rates have risen" and "guilty pleas are way up,"
Mother Jones magazine enthuses. In other words, rigged trials
and the certainty of conviction allow prosecutors to extort guilty
pleas.

Sending
men to jail is apparently now a virtue in itself. In San Diego,
Rips and Lester report with glee, suspending due process protections
"obtains convictions in about 88% of its cases." Convicting
people of crimes — thousands of people of whose guilt or innocence
we can have no first-hand knowledge — is now something to be celebrated
for its own sake.

Guilt used
to be determined by juries weighing evidence in specific cases.
But Rips and Lester apparently know that these "batterers"
are guilty en masse, and all that remains is removing constitutional
impediments to convicting them. Trials, juries, evidence, and the
entire apparatus of due process are superfluous because guilt is
not defined by whether an individual committed a specific deed.
Guilt is a foregone conclusion because the defendant belongs to
a class that is guilty by political definition. The New Jersey family
court invokes feminist jargon to argue that allowing due process
protections to abuse defendants "perpetuates the cycle of power
and control whereby the [alleged?] perpetrator remains the one with
the power and the [alleged?] victim remains powerless."

My niggling
interpolations are no doubt annoying for prosecutors whose careers
depend on their conviction rates. They have effectively institutionalized
the archetypal loaded question, "When did you stop beating
your wife?"

June
17, 2006

Stephen
Baskerville
[send him mail]
is a political scientist and president of the American Coalition
for Fathers and Children and author of Family
Violence in America: The Truth about Domestic Violence and Child
Abuse
.

Stephen
Baskerville Archives

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