What is the right to representation?
By Emily OstermanWashington Post StaffAttorney James S. Warthen, a partner in the Washington law firm Jones Day, says that the right of representation for victims of domestic violence is “an important and constitutionally significant right that should not be restricted in the way that the Supreme Court has made it.”
The right of a victim to be heard is “a fundamental constitutional right that we need to be vigilant about,” Warthes said.
In its decision in Perez v.
Perez, the Supreme House of Representatives unanimously rejected a request by the U.S. Attorney’s Office to delay the filing of charges against a man who had been convicted of killing his girlfriend’s 2-year-old daughter and then raping and killing her daughter’s sister.
The court’s ruling in Perez allowed prosecutors to move forward with charging the man who was acquitted.
Warthes says that in Perez, it is “clear that a jury’s verdict was based on a false allegation of sexual abuse, rather than on actual abuse.”
He said that this decision is a “major victory for victims and their families” and the right for a jury to find the truth about sexual abuse in a criminal case.
He says that victims who have suffered sexual abuse are not entitled to any type of relief from a criminal conviction.
The U. S. Supreme Court ruled in Perez that “the jury was not entitled” to a jury trial, which would have given victims an opportunity to seek relief, but that the court did not order the state to conduct a fair trial.
In Perez, prosecutors presented a video showing a woman’s face, which they said was a consistent description of the attacker’s hands and feet.
They said the man was in the same room as the girl’s sister, and they described her as crying.
The prosecutor’s claim was that she was screaming that the man had raped her.
The court ruled that the prosecutor’s video did not meet the threshold for a fair and impartial trial because it lacked any corroborating evidence.
It is unclear how the prosecutor would have known that the video was consistent with the girl, if the prosecutor had reviewed it and seen a picture of her.
It was not clear whether the prosecutor relied on the victim’s testimony that she had seen the attacker on multiple occasions, or whether she simply made the allegation without consulting her.
Werthes says the ruling should have sent a message to prosecutors that “victims and their advocates deserve the right and opportunity to be able to speak to the judge and to get answers.”
The court ruling is “another important step toward ending abuse of power and ensuring that survivors of domestic abuse are able to be fairly and effectively represented,” he said.