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Rape Law Reform : A Grassroots Revolution and Its Impact - Cassie Spohn

Rape Law Reform

A Grassroots Revolution and Its Impact

Hardcover Published: 31st October 1992
ISBN: 9780306442841
Number Of Pages: 192

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This book evolved from our interest in rape as feminists and as sodal sdentists. As feminists, we were concemed about the treatment of rape victims and the attrition in rape cases under traditional rape law, and we welcomed legal reforms designed to improve the situation. As sodal sdentists, we wondered about the efficacy of legal changes aimed at an inherently resistant court system. We also were curious about the lack of studies examining the impact of these changes; we were particularly surprised to find that no one had attempted to ana- lyze the impact of the reforms in more than one jurisdiction. Con- vinced that untangling the effects of the reforms from the effects of contextual factors required a multijurisdictional study, we deeided to undertake the project. We quickly discovered that evaluating rape law reform in several jurisdictions would be no easy task. We had deeided that such an evaluation would require monthly data on the outcome of rape cases before and after the reforms were implemented, as weIl as qualitative data on the attitudes of criminal justice officials toward the reforms. Because states do not generate monthly data on case outcomes, we would have to collect the data ourse1ves from court records main- tained by individual jurisdictions. To obtain an adequate number of cases for the time-series analysis, we would have to select our sites from large urban jurisdictions scattered throughout the United States.

The Rape Reform Movementp. 15
Criticisms of Traditional Rape Lawp. 17
Reforming the Lawp. 20
Definitional Changesp. 21
Consent Standardp. 23
Corroboration Requirementp. 24
Evidence of Victim's Sexual Conductp. 25
Previous Researchp. 29
Rape Law Reform in Six Jurisdictionsp. 33
Strong Reforms - Michigan, Illinois, and Pennsylvaniap. 36
Weak Reforms - Texas, Georgia, and Washington, D.C.p. 40
Rape Shield Lawsp. 41
Strong Shield Lawsp. 41
Weak Shield Lawsp. 44
Procedures for Determining Relevancep. 45
Summary of Law Reformsp. 46
Contextual Differences and Case-Processing Variationsp. 49
Case-Screening Proceduresp. 50
The Courtroom Work Groupp. 52
The Judiciaryp. 53
Prosecution and Defensep. 56
Outside Influencesp. 64
Courtroom Work Groups and the Rape Law Reformsp. 65
Case Processing and Case Outcomesp. 67
Arrest and Indictment Ratesp. 68
Conviction Rates and Case Outcomesp. 70
Case Processing and the Rape Law Reformsp. 73
The Instrumental Effects of Reformp. 75
Analytical Frameworkp. 80
The "History" Threatp. 80
Controls for the History Threatp. 81
Data Sourcesp. 81
Case Selectionp. 82
Dependent Variablesp. 84
Interrupted Time-Series Analysisp. 85
Impact on Case Processingp. 86
Detroitp. 86
Chicagop. 92
Philadelphiap. 95
Washington, D.Cp. 96
Atlantap. 97
Houstonp. 98
Positive Impactp. 100
Reportsp. 101
Indictmentsp. 102
Officials' Evaluations of Rape Casesp. 107
Assessments of the Importance of Evidencep. 111
Extralegal Factors and Decision Makingp. 111
Officials' Assessments of Evidencep. 112
Officials' Evaluations of Evidence and the Rape Law Reformsp. 115
Responses to Rape Case Vignettesp. 116
The Vignettesp. 118
Analytic Procedurep. 120
Admitting Sexual History Evidencep. 120
Likelihood of Convictionp. 124
Sentence Severityp. 128
The Impact of Reforms on the Evaluation of Evidencep. 129
Officials' Attitudes toward Sexual History Evidencep. 131
Controversy Surrounding the Rape Shield Lawsp. 134
The Women's Rights Project Proposalp. 135
Hypothetical Casesp. 137
Analytic Techniquesp. 139
Results - Evidence Would Be Admittedp. 140
Jurisdictional Differencesp. 143
Evidentiary Differencesp. 144
Results - Evidence Should Be Admittedp. 147
Rape Shield Laws and Officials' Judgments of Relevancep. 149
Influence of Variations in the Lawsp. 151
Influence of Informal Normsp. 152
The Impact of Rape Shield Lawsp. 155
The Limits of Legal Reformsp. 157
Definitional Changesp. 160
Elimination of Corroboration and Resistance Requirementsp. 161
Requirements Not Serious Hurdlesp. 162
Importance of Corroboration and Resistance Evidencep. 163
Rape Shield Lawsp. 164
Inherent Limitations of the Rape Shield Lawsp. 164
Implementation of the Rape Shield Lawsp. 166
Strong versus Weak Shield Lawsp. 170
Reform in Detroitp. 171
Conclusionp. 173
Victim-Oriented Reformsp. 173
Value of Symbolic Changep. 175
Referencesp. 177
Appendixp. 181
Indexp. 189
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780306442841
ISBN-10: 0306442841
Series: The Plenum Crime and Justice
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 192
Published: 31st October 1992
Publisher: SPRINGER VERLAG GMBH
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 24.13 x 16.46  x 1.73
Weight (kg): 0.48

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