Send a Tweet
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Tell A Friend Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites
Exclusive to OpEdNews:
OpEdNews Op Eds

Senator Collins was wrong about the law

By       Message David Tiffany       (Page 1 of 2 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

Related Topic(s): ; ; ; , Add Tags
Add to My Group(s)

View Ratings | Rate It

Author 512068
- Advertisement -

Senator Collins was Wrong About the Law

Senator Collins in her floor speech carefully evaluated the judicial record of Justice Kavanaugh.

In her floor speech she made an objective argument regarding the judicial record of Justice Kavanaugh that was quite frankly a solid argument for confirmation from a purely academically qualified point of view.

However, the elephant in the room was Dr. Ford's testimony regarding a crime (sexual assault) and her eyewitness identification of Justice Kavanaugh, whom she knew from the country club they attended and identified "100%" as one of the two boys who assaulted her.

- Advertisement -

Senator Collins stated in her speech; "Mr. President, I listened carefully to Christine Blasey Ford's testimony before the Judiciary Committee. I found her testimony to be sincere, painful, and compelling. I believe that she is a survivor of a sexual assault and that this trauma has upended her life."

Essentially Senator Collins conceded that there was a crime. However, she rejected the eyewitness identification of a sincere and compelling witness because "the four witnesses she named could not corroborate any of the events of that evening gathering where she says the assault occurred". One of those witnesses was a co-defendant in the assault according to Dr. Ford and the others were drinking in another part of the house, unaware of the assault taking place upstairs. Additionally, the events took place over thirty-five years ago and it would be suspicious if the other people testified that they remembered a nondescript party.

Senator Collins also stated that the standards for a conviction in a criminal case of beyond a reasonable doubt would not be the standard she would follow, she would follow the standard of "more likely than not".

- Advertisement -

However, if it was a criminal case using the higher standard of beyond a reasonable doubt that resulted in a conviction, would the federal appeals courts uphold it based upon only the eyewitness identification of the Dr. Ford?

Yes. In a heartbeat.

If it was a criminal case appellate issues regarding jury instructions would be a likely attack by the defendant. If the jury was not instructed that "the identification testimony must be received with caution and scrutinized with care" under the facts of this case, would the conviction be overturned? No. Ironically the case decision in the circuit that includes the state of Maine that answers this question was United States v. Kavanaugh [1] decided in 1978!

In Kavanaugh the First Circuit held: "identification testimony may be treated as a statement of fact if the following circumstances are present: (1) the witness has had an opportunity to observe; (2) the resulting identification is positive; (3) the witness' identification is not undermined by a prior failure to identify or misidentification; and (4) the identification remains unqualified and certain after full cross-examination."

The law is clear that when eyewitness identification in a criminal case is made by a witness who knows the person they identified and is unqualified, it is enough evidence standing alone to convict someone beyond a reasonable doubt if the jury finds the witness to be credible. To put "credibility" in words used by Senator Collins, Dr. Ford was "a sincere, painful and compelling" witness.

At the end of the day the words of Senator Collins that "every person--man or woman--who makes a charge of sexual assault deserves to be heard and treated with respect" must be modified with "unless it can be supported by corroborating evidence".

- Advertisement -

The issue of "corroborating evidence" is complicated with the plethora of evidence that Justice Kavanaugh had a serious alcohol-consumption problem as a teenager and Dr. Ford telling friends and health-care professionals about the assault years before Justice Kavanaugh was nominated. Additionally, to me the most compelling corroborating evidence that supports that the assault took place was the remodel of Dr. Ford's home that included two front doors! [2]

In two years, Senator Collins who has a record of service that objectively she can be proud of as a normally thoughtful public servant must face reelection with perhaps the single most important issue her floor speech. Between now and then Justice Kavanaugh's judicial record will either support her evaluation of his judicial temperament or torpedo it.

However, criminal cases with eye-witness identifications by victims will take place with most of them under the radar of the public consciousness. The damage done by senators who patronize sexual-assault victims yet advance the theory that they should not be believed unless they come forward with corroborating evidence may take many more years to fully evaluate.

Next Page  1  |  2


- Advertisement -

View Ratings | Rate It


Experienced civil litigation attorney: Admiralty law; employment law [discrimination]; construction defect litigation; personal injury and wrongful death litigation; business litigation in both State and Federal (more...)

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon Share Author on Social Media   Go To Commenting

The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Limits on the President's Pardon Power

The Manafort Dilemma

The Kavanaugh Credibility Battle

Senator Collins was wrong about the law


The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

1 people are discussing this page, with 1 comments

David Tiffany

Become a Fan
Author 512068

(Member since Sep 15, 2018), 4 articles, 3 comments

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon

  New Content

There is an old saying that you don't throw the baby out with the bath water. What got lost in the Kavanagh hearing was the possible impact on future criminal cases for sexual assaults and how a jury will view the evidence.

Submitted on Friday, Nov 2, 2018 at 2:23:38 AM

Author 0
Add New Comment
Share Comment
Reply To This   Recommend  (0+)

Want to post your own comment on this Article? Post Comment