Long trial for naval academy midshipmen accused of sexual assault

Long trial for naval academy midshipmen accused of sexual assault

Sexual assault is one of the most vilified crimes in American law books, and as such it is always vigorously investigated and prosecuted. In all the controversy, though, it is important to remember the rights of the defendant — specifically, the right to fair trial that thoroughly examines and weighs the verified facts of the case. The punishments for sex crimes are very high in Maryland; as such, it is important that all cases be carefully considered to ensure that all sentences are appropriate for the crime.

This is apparently the intent for defense attorneys currently involved in a sexual assault trial. The case revolves around four U.S. Naval Academy midshipmen who attended a party in April 2012. Three midshipmen are accused of sexually assaulting a fourth while she was intoxicated.

Cases like this are, unfortunately, not uncommon. When college students have had too much to drink, it can be very difficult to verify accounts of the night in question. Witnesses will have conflicting opinions about key facts, such as the intoxication levels of the accused. Accounts will also differ in terms of the level of consent given to the participants.

Much of the witness testimony in this case is apparently conflicting. Perhaps for this reason, defense attorneys have questioned the female midshipmen for an unusually long period of time — over 20 hours. Questions were wide-ranging, covering the events of the night of the party, the woman’s past history with the accused, and a Twitter account that the woman deleted after the night in question. The rigorous questioning has gone on for so long that the judge ordered attorneys to limit their examination to a certain number of hours each day, and offer periodic breaks for the witness.

The Baltimore Sun, “Academy sex assault case sets limit on length accuser must testify” Lacey Johnson, Sep. 01, 2013

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