Raped by the Law Again


I’m kicking myself for not having remembered to add the following to yesterday’s post on the Philadelphia judge who ruled that it’s ok to rape prostitutes, or rather that it’s impossible to rape a prostitute, just as it’s impossible to steal from a thief:

Last fall, [Judge] Cheuvront granted a motion by defense attorneys barring the use of the words rape, sexual assault, victim, assailant, and sexual assault kit from the trial of Pamir Safi—accused of raping Tory Bowen in October 2004. Safi’s first trial resulted in a hung jury last November when jurors deadlocked 7-5. Responding to Cheuvront’s initial language ban—which will be in force again when Safi is retried in July—prosecutors upped the ante last month by seeking to have words like sex and intercourse barred from the courtroom as well. The judge denied that motion, evidently on the theory that there would be no words left to describe the sex act at all. The result is that the defense and the prosecution are both left to use the same word—sex—to describe either forcible sexual assault, or benign consensual intercourse. As for the jurors, they’ll just have to read the witnesses’ eyebrows to sort out the difference.

Here’s what happened at the retrial in July, pretty much what happened when the Philadelphia perp raped, er, “stole the services” of another prostitute four days later: a travesty of justice.

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