Rebecca J. Kavanagh @DrRJKavanagh @theappeal Media Relations Director, NYC Public Defender, Writer, @nyulaw, @sydneylawschool, @sydney_uni. Sydney ✈️ NYC. Views my own. Sep. 16, 2019 1 min read

People don't realize that in the vast majority of cases - not just rape, but robbery, assault, larceny, even murder - the only or primary evidence is testimonial. Meaning someone's word.

There are literally people sitting on death row based on testimonial evidence. #Kavanaugh

Prosecutors have a stock line at the beginning of jury selection where they say, now you may watch CSI and Law & Order, but that's not the real world. What we have in the real world is testimony, often just by the person making the allegation.

Then they will ask jurors, can you convict solely on the basis of testimonial evidence. And if people can't do that, they are struck from the jury for cause. It's a basic requirement for sitting on a jury that you are able to do that.

Even where you might think you need physical evidence you don't. DAs don't need a gun to charge someone with attempted criminal possession of a weapon. They just need a witness - often a cop - to say they saw the person with a gun.

And people get convicted all the time based solely on people's word - applying the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt.

And that is not the standard that applies to these allegations.

And people are making literally ridiculous requests.

Believe me, if I as a defense attorney, asked a complainant if she had documentary evidence of someone shoving his penis in her face, everyone in the courtroom would burst out laughing.

Some day I am gonna write a book about how real life court is not like TV, not even because of stuff like this - where the allegations are so credible - but so people could understand how many people are literally sitting in prison for years, decades, because someone said so.

You can follow @DrRJKavanagh.


Tip: mention @threader_app on a Twitter thread with the keyword “compile” to get a link to it.

Enjoy Threader? Sign up.

Threader is an independent project created by only two developers. The site gets 500,000+ visits a month and our iOS Twitter client was featured as an App of the Day by Apple. Running this space is expensive and time consuming. If you find Threader useful, please consider supporting us to make it a sustainable project.