The judge’s order was understandable. If the prosecution had the video, the defense was entitled to it as well. It was, without question, Giglio material, evidence that could be used to challenge the credibility of a prosecution witness. And it did, without question, “re-victimize” Lara McLeod, assuming she was victimized in the first place.
A Virginia court ruled this week that a four-year-old videotape depicting what a woman says is her rape will be handed over to the defense team in an upcoming capital murder trial, even though the woman says the video was recorded without her consent.
Lara McLeod, now 24, is not a witness and will not testify in the trial, which is slated for January 2016. The video was evidence in a case that was expunged two years ago. Under Virginia law, it’s illegal to record someone having sex without their consent.
But a judge ruled on Wednesday that the defense team had the right to view the video nonetheless.
Joaquin Rams is being prosecuted for the murder of McLeod’s 15-month-old nephew. Rams had earlier been accused by McLeod of raping her, but produced the tape to show he hadn’t, resulting in McLeod’s arrest for falsely reporting. What the tape shows, exactly, isn’t known, but certainly is subject to controversy. Does it prove a rape or disprove a rape? Who knows?
What it does show, however, is that McLeod’s sister, and the mother of the victim, Hera, has a motive to testify falsely against Rams in the murder case to obtain retribution for the alleged rape of her sister.
But McLeod, after learning of the defense’s effort to obtain the tape, lawyered up with Brooklyn anti-revenge porn advocate, Carrie Goldberg.
“Please let it not be lost on the court that its order violates Lara McLeod’s most intimate privacy – her sexual privacy,” Goldberg wrote, noting that even if the ownership of the video was contested, nonconsensual sex videos are illegal. “Without notice to Lara McLeod, the court’s order results in the video being constructively returned to the control of the criminal who violated that privacy.”
Ah, yes. The emotional plea for “sexual privacy,” a theme propounded with adoration amongst the small group of anti-revenge porn advocates who huddle together to applaud one another’s brilliance. But putting their beloved feelz to the test reveals the problem. There is no legally recognized claim of “sexual privacy,” no matter how many twits or Slate articles contend otherwise.
The emptiness of Goldberg’s myopic contention is revealed by her dismissal of the Giglio issue:
The defense’s claim that the video is necessary to establish Hera’s bias is absurd, Goldberg argued.
“Any negative feelings that the murder victim’s mother might have toward [Rams] are likely to be far more propelled by the fact that [Rams] killed her child than any prior sex acts,” the emergency motion read.
Yeah, well, no. It’s not “absurd.” It’s not even arguably “absurd.” And most importantly, it’s not up to Goldberg to decide for the defense, or the jury, what motives Hera might have to falsely accuse the father of her child for murder.
This is the sort of argument that reflects inexperience with the law and the blindness that comes of repeating fallacious arguments within a small circle of friends who can’t bear scrutiny or criticism. You come to believe your own bullshit because everybody wearing the cap of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative team agrees with you, tells you you’re the ginchiest, and rubs your tummy for being such a great defender of the gender.
Except the argument is nonsense, just as we’ve been trying to tell you.
Rams has denied that he killed Prince, and he also denies any wrongdoing in the deaths of his ex-girlfriend and mother, which prosecutors sought to connect with Prince’s death. Authorities have said Rams was a suspect in those deaths, but the court ruled that they are inadmissible, as it would be too prejudicial for Rams to have to defend against three murders in a single trial.
This is why they build courtrooms. This is why they have trials. The accused is allowed to exercise his right to require the prosecution to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, even if Carrie Goldberg’s argument presumed he’s guilty, both of murder as well as a rape for which he was never convicted. Sorry, but the fem ideology of believing the woman is not a rule of law. I know, that makes you very angry, but still.
That Lara’s “sexual privacy was exploited once by [Rams] through the unlawful creation of the video does not entitle him – or anybody – to continue exploiting Lara, which is what happens every single time the video is viewed,” the emergency motion read. “The court, by ordering the video’s release is participating, hopefully inadvertently, in the continued sexual exploitation and voyeurism of Lara McLeod by ordering its release.”
And the forces of fem faux justice agree wholeheartedly with Goldberg. Of course they would. But Rams’ murder trial isn’t about your cries of “sexual exploitation and voyeurism.” Nor does your complaint, that Lara will be re-exploited “every single time the video is viewed,” change the equation.
It’s time to come to grips with a little bit of hard, cold reality. The rhetoric used by the anti-revenge porn crowd about sexual privacy and the exploitation of women by non-consensual sexual video, even when tied to the baseless assumption that women’s allegations must invariably be credited as true, is all a big bag of legal bullshit.
You’ve been lying to yourselves and others all along by promoting your desired theories as if they were law. They’re not. And Goldberg just got smacked in the head with the heavy hand of reality. But here’s the better, and sadder, question raised by this massive failure of competent lawyering: What if there were valid legal arguments to be made, whether to preclude disclosure of the video or at least limit the harm, but you failed to make sound arguments because you were so caught up in your failed ideological bullshit?