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NCJ Number: 63198 Find in a Library
Title: RAPE - ADMISSIBILITY OF VICTIM'S PRIOR SEXUAL CONDUCT WHAT IS THE LAW IN TEXAS?
Journal: BAYLOR LAW REVIEW  Volume:31  Issue:3  Dated:(SUMMER 1979)  Pages:317-328
Author(s): J A VAUGHT
Corporate Author: Baylor University
Law School
United States of America
Date Published: 1979
Page Count: 11
Sponsoring Agency: Baylor University
Waco, TX 76798
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: THE 1975 TEXAS LAW ESTABLISHING A STANDARD OF ADMISSIBILITY OF EVIDENCE OF A RAPE VICTIM'S PRIOR SEXUAL CONDUCT IS ANALYZED FOR ITS CONTENT AND CONSEQUENCES FOR EXISTING AND FUTURE LAW.
Abstract: THE ENACTMENT OF SECTION 21.13 OF THE TEXAS PENAL CODE REPRESENTS AN ATTEMPT TO BALANCE THE CONFLICTING RIGHTS OF THE RAPE VICTIM AND THE ACCUSED. PRIOR TO 1975, THE LAW AS DEVELOPED BY THE COURTS CONSIDERED PRIOR SEXUAL CONDUCT TO BE RELEVANT TO THREE ISSUES: (1) POSSIBLE CONSENT TO INTERCOURSE BY THE VICTIM, (2) IMPEACHMENT OF THE VICTIM'S CREDIBILITY AS A WITNESS, AND (3) THE PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OF THE INTERCOURSE. SECTION 21.13 SOUGHT TO IMPOSE STRICTER STANDARDS OF ADMISSIBILITY BY STATING THAT EVIDENCE OF SEXUAL CONDUCT COULD BE ADMITTED ONLY IF THE JUDGE FOUND THAT IT WAS 'MATERIAL TO A FACT AT ISSUE IN THE CASE.' THE LAW ALSO TRIED TO CONTROL THE USE OF INFLAMMATORY OR PREJUDICIAL EVIDENCE, BUT THE TEXAS COURT OF APPEALS HAS NOT PROVIDED MEANINGFUL GUIDELINES ON THIS ISSUE. THE RAMIFICATIONS OF SECTION 21.13 ARE STILL UNKNOWN, BUT THE FOLLOWING SUGGESTIONS ARE OFFERED: THE MISCONCEPTIONS THAT RAPE IS A CRIME OF SEXUAL SATISFACTION OR A FABRICATION OF A MALICIOUS FEMALE MUST BE RECOGNIZED SO THAT CONSENT CAN BE DETERMINED ONLY BY FACTS AND CIRCUMSTANCES REGARDING THE ALLEGED RAPE, EVIDENCE OF PRIOR SEXUAL CONDUCT MUST BE MATERIAL TO THE CASE AND NOT USED TO UNDERMINE THE VICTIM'S CREDIBILITY, AND THE ACCUSED SHOULD BE RESTRICTED TO INTRODUCING EVIDENCE THAT IS NECESSARY TO EXPLAIN THE SOURCE OR ORIGIN OF PHYSICAL EVIDENCE. (AUTHOR ABSTRACT MODIFIED--MJM)
Index Term(s): Rape; Rules of evidence; State laws; Texas
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