Thursday, March 02, 2006

THE JUDGE IN THE ILLINOIS RAPE CASE has backed down from his order that the young woman whose rape was videotaped by her attackers agree to answer defense questions while watching the tape:

A Cook County judge backed off Wednesday after triggering a furor with a warning that he might lock up a woman for refusing to watch a videotape showing her alleged 2002 rape in a Burr Ridge home.

Circuit Judge Kerry Kennedy's decision was a relief to victims advocates, who said forcing the woman to watch the tape on the witness stand would have been cruel and could have discouraged others from reporting sexual assaults.

Appalled advocates sprang into action Tuesday after Kennedy said he might find the Naperville woman, now 20, in contempt of court if she did not agree to watch and answer questions about the videotape in which two young men allegedly have sex with her. Defense attorneys on Tuesday asked the judge to drop the sexual assault charges if the woman did not watch the tape. The woman, who testified that she had been drinking on the night of the alleged assault and has no memory of it, said she had never seen the tape. ...

Cook County Assistant State's Atty. Cheryl Schroeder said defense attorney Patrick Campanelli "wants to humiliate and embarrass [the woman]. That's what this is all about."

That statement prompted Campanelli to jump up from his chair and, in a raised voice, say: "I take this as a personal insult. [The accuser] has told us she was unconscious. That is ridiculous. All the law I know says the defendant's rights come before a victim's rights. And that's what we're having this trial for.

"It's my contention she hasn't been shown to be a victim yet," Campanelli said. "Those are rules so that innocent men can't be hurt."

Before ruling Wednesday, Kennedy again asked the woman, who was visibly shaken, if she would view the video.

She declined, and the judge said, "I am not going to force her to watch the video during cross-examination. I don't believe Adrian Missbrenner's case is being injured."

Campanelli then filed motions to dismiss the charges and to bar the woman's testimony. Kennedy denied both requests.

Via Shakespeare's Sister.

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