Thursday, June 09, 2016

Stanford rape sentence outrage is understandable, but criminal justice, rather than internal campus justice, needs to be used in these cases everywhere


There is a lot of attention to a recent rape on the campus at Stanford, and the “light sentence” of six months given to Brock Turner.  The victim’s letter was read by on CNN Legal View by Ashley Banfield.

Turner will have to register as a sex offender and probably have the rest of his life severely restricted. Yes, the sentence could have been much longer, but recalling the judge seems vengeful.
 
But the Washington Post makes another good point, that part of the problem is that many campus cases are handled administratively, and Obama administration rules do not let the accused rebut victim’s statements, and typically male students can be thrown out of school “on the preponderance of the evidence” for what they claim were consensual acts.  KC Johnson and Stuart Taylor make the case that the criminal justice system, rather than local civil campus administrative systems, should play a larger role in these cases, with more police involvement on campus when necessary.   In the long run, use of conventional law enforcement will result in more appropriate justice and punishment of perpetrators.

I can remember, when living on dorms, that heterosexual men varied a great deal on how recklessly they would behave, and only a minority had a problem with alcohol (which now is illegal under 21).  A relatively small but still significant minority of male college students has a real problem with self-control and impulse restraint.  There is a tendency for some of them to claim consent or some kind of sexual entitlement.  Both genetics and upbringing (“affluenza”) bear on behavior in these situations.

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