New PDF release: Rape and the Culture of the Courtroom
By Andrew E. Taslitz
Rape legislation reform has been a beautiful failure. safety legal professionals persist in emphasizing sufferers' characters over defendants' habit. Reform's objectives of accelerating rape document and conviction premiums have more often than not no longer been completed. In Rape and the tradition of the Courtroom, Andrew Taslitz locates the reason for rape reform failure within the language attorneys use, and the cultural tales upon which they draw to dominate rape sufferers within the courtroom.
Cultural tales approximately rape, Taslitz argues, reminiscent of the provocatively dressed girl "asking for it," are on the root of many subconscious prejudices that ascertain jury perspectives. He connects those tales with real-life examples, resembling the Mike Tyson and Glen Ridge rape trials, to teach how rape stereotypes are utilized by protection legal professionals to realize acquittals for his or her clients.
Building on Deborah Tannen's pathbreaking learn at the modifications among female and male speech, Taslitz additionally demonstrates how observe selection, tone, and different attorneys' linguistic strategies paintings to undermine the boldness and the credibility of the sufferer, weakening her voice through the trial. Taslitz presents politically sensible reform proposals, in line with feminist theories of justice, which promise to enhance either the adversary procedure generally and how that the procedure handles rape cases.
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Extra info for Rape and the Culture of the Courtroom
40 Fictional movies and television programs contribute to this image, but many of the tales supporting this subtheme come from the news media. 42 A New York Post story was typical of the coverage: New Yorkers learned a new word for fear yesterday. It’s called “wilding”—a street term even high-ranking police officers hadn’t heard before. Like something out of A Clockwork Orange, packs of bloodthirsty teens from the tenements, bursting with boredom and rage, roam the streets getting kicks from an evening of ultra-violence.
On the other hand, these numbers suggest a decline in student misinformation about rape from the late 1970s to the mid-to-late 1980s. Even more important, these numbers show significantly smaller percentages of reactionary views toward rape than Sniderman and Piazza found toward race. Both the declining trend and the smaller percentages of reactionary views on rape relative to race arguably suggest that feminist views about rape have indeed made significant inroads. This superficially heartening conclusion fails when confronted with the very different results obtained when, rather than exploring general attitudes toward rape, researchers examine how people evaluate rape victims and suspects in particular fact situations.
Law is naturally conservative; it relies on precedent and background assumptions, and seeks interpretations consistent with those assumptions. Legal change is, accordingly, generally incremental. It is just enough reform to look good to large segments of the public, to preserve the system from collapse, and to make everyone feel proud, but not enough reform as to wreak radical change. Because of that, the nature of legal training is likely to perpetuate historically dominant cultural tales that have previously penetrated the law and are a brake on rapid change in the master narratives.
Rape and the Culture of the Courtroom by Andrew E. Taslitz