Last Thursday, a pregnant woman in Spokane received notice of a court order—an order entered without giving her any notice or an opportunity to be heard—that was granted to her former partner six days prior. The order completely violated her rights as a woman, as an expectant mother, and as a domestic violence survivor, while granting rights to a man who has not been legally established as her expected child's parent. The court had ordered her to: immediately contact her form
For years, sexual assault survivors and advocates have worked to change the legal system’s response to sexual violence. We’ve fought to ensure that survivors of sexual assault are able to report crimes without fear that their conduct will become the focus of the case. But today’s ruling by the Washington Supreme Court threatens to move us backward. In its decision in the case of State v. W.R., the Court reversed 25 years of Washington precedent concerning the burden of proof
Just over a year ago, Judge G. Todd Baugh in Billings, Montana sparked a national outcry when he sentenced a teacher who raped a 14-year-old student to just 31 days in jail, while making comments that blamed the victim for the crime. Today, a new judge in Montana finally handed down a sentence that takes the crime seriously. This spring, we successfully advocated in the Montana Supreme Court to reverse the original 31-day sentence and to have a new judge assigned to the case.
You may remember us telling you about a horrific case in which a Montana judge issued a 31-day jail sentence to a teacher who raped a 14-year old student—while making statements that blamed the victim for the crime. We’re glad to report that the Montana Supreme Court today issued a unanimous opinion agreeing with our position that the sentence was illegal under Montana law, which requires a mandatory minimum jail sentence of 4 years for such crimes. The Court also agreed with
Legal Voice joined with other organizations serving sexual assault survivors to file an amicus brief urging the Washington Supreme Court to reject imposing additional requirements of proof in rape cases. This issue was presented to the Court in the case of State v. W.R., which was argued today. The defendant was convicted of second-degree rape by forcible compulsion. One question raised in the case is whether the State must not only prove forcible compulsion by the defendant,
On February 19, 2014, the Washington Court of Appeals for Division II heard arguments in State and A.W. v. Finch, a case in which a court ordered a sexual assault survivor to take a polygraph examination. Legal Voice filed an amicus brief in the case to argue that courts should never order sexual assault survivors to undergo polygraph exams. We argued that forcing sexual assault survivors to take polygraph exams treats survivors like suspects and discourages crime reporting.