The States’ Inexcusable Incompetence In Rape Cases

rape kits

If anyone can think of a good explanation for this outrage, please enlighten me.

Massachusetts has a 15-year statute of limitations on prosecuting sexual assault crimes, but the state only requires that untested rape kits be stored for six months.  No state currently provides the victim of an alleged sexual assault the right to require a jurisdiction to retain a rape kit until the statute of limitations expires, and only six states and Washington, D.C., provide a right for the prompt processing of a rape kit.

How can this be? Why wouldn’t it be obvious that as long as it is possible that rape charges can be brought, the relevant rape kit must be preserved?

Reports the Huffington Post:

Legislators and state officials around the country have worked in recent years to try to clear a backlog of untested rape kits [like the photo above] , spending millions of dollars to do so. But officials in states like Colorado, Kentucky and North Carolina are increasingly disclosing that it’s not uncommon for labs to have to trashed untested kits — in some cases, illegally.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) told HuffPo, “It really makes no sense to have 15 years in which the survivors can bring charges against someone, and then to destroy the evidence that’s going to be so critical to convicting them, in a six-month period.” She has introduced a bill this week called the Sexual Assault Survivors Act, creating a right for women to have their rape kit preserved free of charge for the duration of their state’s statute of limitations; the right to be notified of the information found in medical forensic examinations; and the right to get, in writing, the policies governing a rape kit. Why would anyone oppose such a law? Why isn’t there a law like this already?

Any state—and so far, that’s all of them—that doesn’t automatically preserve a rape kit in a pending rape investigation or allegation until prosecution is complete or impossible is unethically making it easier to get away with rape, and more difficult for victims to get justice. The ethical values being breached are responsibility, justice, fairness, caring, and empathy, but most of all, competence. This is stupid. This is obviously stupid.

At some point, the distinction articulated by Hanlon’s Razor—“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”—becomes moot. For governments, allowing obvious stupidity is malicious.

Fix this.

______________________________

Pointer: Fred

12 thoughts on “The States’ Inexcusable Incompetence In Rape Cases

  1. How does… Who does… What.. Fuck. Seriously? Seriously?

    This isn’t partisan, this isn’t controversial, this needs to be fixed. Now. How do so many people participate in the system that handles this without someone, somewhere fixing it? I can’t even blame a couple of departments, this is systematic.

  2. >The ethical values being breached are responsibility, justice, fairness, caring, and empathy, but most of all, competence.

    I’m just back from the SSA office where I waited for 90 minutes to talk to some borderline vegetable for 5 minutes and be told to return tomorrow with more documents because following the instructions on their website for a routine request is wrong. Government’s incompetence knows no bounds. I wonder how many votes Trump gained after promising to fire the idiots working for the Federal Gov. – not that he can or will, but he’s artfully exploiting people’s anger at this kind of idiocy.

  3. I don’t know enough about his, but shouldn’t a rape kit be processed right away, then filed. I don’t know what is involved in “processing” but I would think an “old” kit may not show what a newer kit might…….like I said, just thinking out loud. I also think in this day and age, it’s not an “embarrassment” to file rape charges or report it when maybe 30 yrs ago, it was not encouraged.

    • I’ll go ahead and go there so the flaming can begin-

      There may be crappy pockets of Islamic lands where this would happen. But once you walk into America, all bets are off. Sorry. It’s just that crappy.

      Let the flaming commence. I’m sure I’ll even get one from PM Lawrence about how everything g is relative and who are we to judge…

      • I know one country that does it right, Great Britain. I wish American was more like them. Running out of money to investigate rape allegations is not something that would happen there. They have no problem spending millions of Pounds to apprehend someone suspected of committing rape. It’s very progressive that a nation does that, especially since that guy didn’t even allegedly commit the crime in England.

        • l pass on being more like England.

          We had two whole scuffles over that topic in the past…seems like the nation at the time agreed with the sentiment of being less like England.

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