I have an agg. sexual assault case wherein the victim has requested a pseudonym. She's also requested a protective order. I'm assuming I still have to use the pseudonym for all the protective order documentation, but because our office hasn't faced this situation before, I'm not entirely sure how to proceed. Can anyone give me any guidance?
Resurrecting an old thread because this issue has come up again. Any experience/suggestions?
In the age of the internet, is there any point? The name of the girl from Steubenville was posted online in just a few days.
C.C.P. Art. 57.02(f) sure makes it sound like you'd have to use the pseudonym in all public filings including protective order documents. I'd get it on the record that the defendant and/or his attorney were provided a copy of the pseudonym form so there's no confusion.
Yes Molly of course there is a point to using pseudonyms. For every high profile sexual assault like what happened in Steubenville there are many thousands of sexual assaults that no one hears about except law enforcement and the parties' immediate family. If people do their jobs correctly it isn't that difficult to maintain the confidentiality of a victim's name. Also citing what happened in Ohio is silly. It was the defendants and others who arguably could have been charged themselves that distributed the details and posted all of the information on the internet. Obviously that's not going to happen very often.
So what do you do if the defendant says to heck with you and posts all her name and stuff on the internet? Or what if a friend or member of the defendant's family does?
What kind of sanction could a trial court do to someone (like a friend) who is not apart of the case)?
There is no such thing as "thousands of sexual assaults that no one hears about but law enforcement and the parties' immediate family." There are cases that receive more publicity, or less publicity. But every case has some form of publicity. Just because you, personally, do not know of a case does not mean that the case is not important to someone else.
In every rape case there are people who know the alleged victim. That can be used as leverage against the victim by slut shaming her. So there is every reason in the world for a defendant or (most especially) one of his friends to put this personal information out there.
Could there be a law about this perhaps?
Sure. A judge could have a gag order put in place. Each violation could result in a charge of contempt. It could even be a condition of bond. Additionally, harassment and witness tampering are both offenses. Depending on the level of the problem, if it rose to meet the elements of those offenses, additional charges could be filed.
The point of the pseudonym protection is to keep the victim's name out of publicly filed records which are both official sources and widely accessible to the public... unlike some guy's Facebook page or blog. If a defendant or defense witness chooses to run their mouth online then I get to use it against them in trial.
It is a Class C Misdemeanor to divulge the true identity of an alleged victim if he or she has requested a pseudonym pursuant to Chapter 57B of the Code of Criminal Procedure.
The problem logistically I believe with this law is most police departments do not have the proper procedures to process requests for a pseudonym in cases of alleged family violence. To whom does one submit the form promulgated by the attorney general for a pseudonym? The legislature messed up royally, and may potentially open up entities to liability, by not determining a procedure to handle these forms requesting pseudonyms.
Also, and this is a hypothetical situation, what happens if a subject is arrested for family violence but he alleges that, in fact, he was assaulted by the victim? The way the law reads, there is no process to legally prevent authorities from being required to withhold the name of the arrestee in public police documents.
|Powered by Social Strata|
© TDCAA, 2001. All Rights Reserved.