Last week I saw an interview with a prominent Denver area District Attorney on TV. The main purpose of the interview was the DA telling the reporter why we should always believe children when they make accusations of sexual assault or enticement. While most people in Denver, Arapahoe, and Jefferson County would agree with this mindset, it's important to point out an important fact: “Always believe the children” seems like a good mantra until you or a loved one is falsely accused.
Is Blind Acceptance in the Courtroom Ever a Good Idea?Shifting the burden of proof in Colorado courtrooms:
There is a growing trend in the world today regarding people accused of sexual crimes against children. District Attorneys, the police, and the media all preach that we should believe children's allegations without question or evidence. This is a troubling mindset, however. When DAs speak to the media about this mindset, they are grandstanding to the public – to potential jurors – in an attempt to influence their choices in the courtroom. This creates a biased jury pool, which sends innocent people to prison for a very long time. Let's stop and think about this “always believe the children” concept and what it really means:
1.It Undermines the Entire Criminal Justice System
Think about it: DAs are promoting the idea that children should always be taken seriously when it comes to serious accusations. Essentially, they are shifting the burden of proof from prosecutors to the defendant. When children should “always be believed,” it is up to the defendant to prove why the alleged victim in their case is lying. In criminal cases in our criminal justice system, the burden of proof always lies with the prosecution, according to the Constitution. By shifting the burden of proof to the defendant, the Constitutional precept that a person is “innocent until proven guilty” is obliterated.
2.It Creates a Poisonous Mindset
When people adopt the mindset that children should always be believed in serious sexual crime accusations, it creates a poisonous worldview. If a person is accused and their name and photo are printed in the newspaper, the public generally believes they are guilty – even though the person hasn't even gone to trial yet. And, even if the media prints a retraction (which is extremely rare), the defendant's reputation is ruined. Society doesn't look kindly on sex offenders, so when a person is accused, they are automatically outcasts from the rest of the world.
What if You Were Falsely Accused?
When I hear people spout propaganda such as “the best thing we can do for a victim is to just believe them,” I grow extremely angry. The best way to respond to such nonsense is to ask a simple question:
Would you say the same thing if you or a loved one were falsely accused?
This instantly changes the playing field. Now, the concept isn't so vague or righteous – it's personal. The mindset that children never lie about sexual crime sounds good until you're the one who is facing an indeterminate sentence for a crime you didn't commit – based all on the word of a child telling stories. Children are notorious for storytelling. And, with the influence of the media, children are becoming more sexually aware at young ages. They know that telling a teacher their step-dad “touched them” will result in their stepdad (who they don't like) being taken away. I have personally seen children lie and make up ridiculous stories on the witness stand during trial. Obviously, the concept that children should always be believed is promoted by people who don't have much contact with kids.
Physical Evidence Should Be Required for a Conviction, But it Isn't
A person can be convicted of a serious sexual offense based solely on the testimony of a child.
Did you know that a person can be convicted of serious crimes such as Enticement of a Child or Sexual Assault on a Child based solely on the testimony of a child? Let's look at the crime of Enticement of a Child, for example: Enticement of a Child is charged when a person invites, or tries to persuade a child to go somewhere secluded with the intent to commit the crime of Sexual Assault or Unlawful Sexual Contact. You can be convicted simply for contacting a child with this intent – nothing physical has to happen. Think of how easy it would be for a child to make accusations of this type. Generally, there isn't a lot of evidence in these types of cases anyway. But, people are often convicted without any physical evidence at all, because of the current state of our courts in Adams, El Paso, and Douglas County.
Why You Need an Expert Lawyer if You've Been Accused
It is vital that you protect your future by hiring a lawyer who will fight aggressively to defend you.
If you've been accused of sexual contact by a child, contact a skilled criminal defense lawyer immediately. You can be convicted of a serious sexual offense even without evidence. Because of this, it is vital that you protect your future and work with a hard-hitting defense attorney who focuses on sex crimes. Don't assume that because you are innocent you'll be safe – with the concept of “always believe the children” becoming more prevalent, you can be convicted without evidence. Don't put your future in the hands of an inexperienced lawyer – instead, contact an attorney from the O'Malley Law Office to aggressively fight to protect your future.Request a Free Consultation
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