What is Rape Shield Law and What are its Punishments in Massachusetts?
Millions of people are victims of the heinous crime of rape in different parts of the world. If you look at the statistics of the United States of America alone, you will find that around 321,500 persons are being subjected to acts of sexual assault or rape every year on an average. Women and girls in the age group of 12-34 face the highest risk of getting teased or sexually assaulted in the United States of America.
Rape Shield Laws in Massachusetts
Any defense attorney in the state of Massachusetts has a duty of defending his/her clients in the best possible way, At the same time, there are some things, which a rape defense attorney is not able to do while defending their clients in the court.
Rape Shield Laws in Massachusetts are pretty good. However, having these laws in place does not mean the alleged victim's credibility cannot be attacked or questioned. The laws ensure that the evidence pertaining to the past sexual history of the victim or alleged sexual reputation should not be produced for attacking the credibility of the accuser while establishing whether they had consent or not in the state court.
At the same time. The rape defense attorneys in Massachusetts can attack the accusers' ability concerning charges related to sexual offenses and rape charges. A major issue in the sexual assault and rape cases in Massachusetts is the consent of the possible victim. In order to establish this aspect, a seasoned rape defense lawyer is a must. The lawyer concerned has to be highly experienced and knowledgeable at these kinds of cross-examination.
So, when a person faces a criminal charge related to rape in the state, it is imperative to stay away from lawyers who do not have a record of successfully defending cases pertaining to sexual assault and rapes. After all, such cases are highly complicated and should be only taken up by a specialist with years of experience in this field.
If you or someone you care about is facing a rape charge in Massachusetts: Do not hire an attorney who does not have many years of successful experience in defending rape and sexual assault cases. These are highly complicated cases, and not suitable for any other type of attorney other than a specialist in this field of law.
Rape Shield Laws intend to protect victim's credibility
There have been several such instances in the past when most of the criminal defense lawyers would use the strategy of a blemish in the image of the road victim to win their cases. These lawyers brought up information about the past sexual history of the victim in front of court quite frequently in order to undermine the credibility of the accuser.
However, such a legal practice has demotivated several alleged rape victims who are women most of the times, from charging their attackers. They feel scared of the ruthless and vigorous cross-examination by a defense attorney in the court where they are asked inappropriate questions about their sexual background.
Several prominent women's rights activists opined that such a courtroom practice must be stopped as just because the alleged rape accuser had an active sexual history does not essentially prove that they had given their consent in the issue of the rape, which is being contested in the court.
The good news is that things have changed for the better. Almost all States in the United States except Arizona have come up with "Rape Shield Laws." These laws do not allow the defense attorney to introduce proofs related to the prior sexual history of the alleged rape victim. Such laws were established in the 1970's state-by-state. Even in the state of Massachusetts, it is not permitted under the Rape Shield Laws to introduce the past sexual history of the rape victim. Chapter 233, Section 21B of the Massachusetts General Laws govern these Rape Shield Laws.