“THE LAW'S THE LAW, BUT FAIR IS FAIR:” RAPE SHIELD LAWS AND OFFICIALS' ASSESSMENTS OF SEXUAL HISTORY EVIDENCE

CASSIA SPOHN, JULIE HORNEY

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Abstract

Recently enacted rape shield laws, which restrict the introduction of evidence of the complainant's prior sexual conduct, have engendered considerable controversy. This paper examines the responses of judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys in six major urban jurisdictions to a set of hypothetical cases in which evidence of the victim's past sexual conduct is at issue. The different kinds of sexual history evidence evoke different responses from officials, and the specific provisions of the six rape shield statutes also affect officials' judgments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-161
Number of pages25
JournalCriminology
Volume29
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1991

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All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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