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NCJ Number: 52183 Find in a Library
Title: OHIO'S NEW RAPE LAW - DOES IT PROTECT THE COMPLAINANT AT THE EXPENSE OF THE RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED?
Journal: AKRON LAW REVIEW  Volume:9  Issue:2  Dated:(FALL 1975)  Pages:337-359
Author(s): B CHILD
Corporate Author: University of Akron
United States of America
Date Published: 1975
Page Count: 23
Sponsoring Agency: University of Akron
Akron, OH 44325
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: REVISIONS TO OHIO'S LAW ON SEXUAL OFFENSES, INCLUDING RAPE, ARE CONSIDERED IN RELATION TO SERVICES FOR VICTIMS, THE SUPPRESSION OF RECORDS, RULES OF EVIDENCE, AND MANDATORY SENTENCES.
Abstract: OHIO'S LAW IS DESIGNED TO PROTECT VICTIMS OF SEX OFFENSES, AND IT CONTAINS MAJOR PROVISIONS AFFECTING THE DEFINITION OF RAPE ITSELF. PROVISIONS ARE ALSO INCOROPRATED THAT ATTEMPT TO BALANCE THE COMPLAINANT'S RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND EQUAL PROTECTION WITH THE DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO A FAIR TRIAL AND DUE PROCESS. OHIO HAS SIGNIFICANTLY BROADENED THE DEFINITION OF RAPE IN TWO WAYS. FIRST, SPOUSE AS USED IN SEXUAL OFFENSE STATUTES IS DEFINED TO EXCLUDE PARTIES WHO HAVE BEEN LEGALLY SEPARATED OR WHO HAVE AN ACTION PENDING FOR ANNULMENT, DIVORCE, DISSOLUTION OF MARRIAGE, OR ALIMONY. SECOND, THE NUMBER OF OFFENSES INCLUDED IN THE LAW HAS BEEN EXPANDED. NEEDED LEGAL PROTECTION IS INCLUDED AGAINST TYPICAL FORMS OF HOMOSEXUAL ATTACK AS WELL AS HETEROSEXUAL RAPE. IN SO PROVIDING FOR A BROADER SPECTRUM OF OFFENSES AND OFFENDERS, THE LAW INCREASES EQUAL PROTECTION OF LAWS GUARANTEED BY THE 14TH AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION. MEDICAL, FINANCIAL, AND LEGAL SERVICES FOR VICTIMS ARE MANDATED IN THE LAW. THE PROVISION RELATING TO THE SUPPRESSION OF RECORDS IS THE RESULT OF A THREE-WAY COMPROMISE AMONG THE VICTIM'S RIGHT TO PRIVACY, THE DEFENDANT'S RIGHT TO PREPARE A DEFENSE, AND THE PUBLIC'S RIGHT TO A FREE PRESS. THE LAW ATTENDS, HOWEVER, MORE EXPLICITLY TO RIGHTS OF THE ACCUSED THAN TO FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS OF THE PRESS AND THE PUBLIC. THE MOST SWEEPING CHANGES ARE THOSE REGARDING RULES OF EVIDENCE. DIFFICULTIES WITH EVIDENCE RULES GENERALLY CONCERN THE CONFLICT BETWEEN CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS OF THE VICTIM AND THE ACCUSED. THE LAW REQUIRES AN IN-CAMERA HEARING FOR THE JUDGE TO RESOLVE ANY DISAGREEMENT OVER THE ADMISSIBILITY OF PROFERRED EVIDENCE ABOUT SEXUAL REPUTATION AND CONDUCT. EVIDENCE MUST BE MATERIAL TO A FACT AT ISSUE AND MUST HAVE POTENTIAL PROBATIVE VALUE OF GREATER WEIGHT THAN ITS POTENTIAL INFLAMMATORY OR PREJUDICIAL VALUE. OHIO HAS OPTED TO IMPOSE MANDATORY SENTENCES OF 5 YEARS FOR RAPISTS CONVICTED A SECOND TIME AND 10 YEARS FOR A SECOND OFFENSE IF THE VICTIM IS UNDER 13 YEARS OF AGE. CASE LAW ON RULES OF EVIDENCE IS CITED. (DEP)
Index Term(s): Mandatory Sentencing; Ohio; Rape; Rules of evidence; Sex offenders; Sex offenses; Sexual assault victims; State laws; Victim-witness legislation
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