Thursday, October 25, 2007

What The Hell is Wrong With My State?

I'm a Marylander. And normally, I'm quite proud of that fact. But recently, my state has been letting me down big time. I'm not even talking about the state Supreme Court's refusal to strike down our anti-gay marriage law (the infamous "we won't be 'beguiled' by plain meaning!" case), which, though disappointing, hardly distinguishes us from the rest of the country. But recently, our courts have ruled that consent cannot be withdrawn by a woman after the initial penetration. And now, via Bean, apparently a Maryland judge just threw out a case where a cop observed a man hitting his girlfriend outside a gas station. The women disappeared, and the judge decided that since "Sadomasochists sometimes like to get beat up," he couldn't assume the punches weren't consensual.

Judge Harris went onto explain that it had to be clear that the defendant's actions were not consented to by the victim, and asked, "How do you determine that without the victim?" (Byron L. Warnken, a professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, posed this question to a Sun reporter: "What would we do in a murder case?")

My understanding of the law here, incidentally, is that once the elements of a crime have been established "beyond a reasonable doubt" (which they were here), then the burden is on the defendant to show why there was a good "excuse" for the actions (i.e., this was consensual S&M...outside a gas station).

But yeah. As The Nation puts it, apparently "Some Domestic Violence Victims Like Being Hit."

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