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Rape shield laws: a need for an ethical and legal reexamination?

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An accusation of sexual assault is an extremely grave with serious punishment if convicted. Social stigma is often present even if the accused is acquitted or the charges are dropped. In situations where the evidence of sexual assault is based on 'he said-she said' accusations and there is no corroborating evidence, there is a need to closely examine the accuser as well as the accused background. Rape shield laws should be re-examined to assure fundamental fairness in the discovery process. Such information, if material to the case is needed in order to grant due process. An ethical and legal argument is presented regarding the utility of rape shield legislation.

Keywords: Due process; Injustice; Law and ethics; Rape shield laws

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: 2004-09-01

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