The Prosecutor's Duty to 'Imperfect' Rape Victims

Texas Tech Law Review, Vol 49:219 (2016)

University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-8

30 Pages Posted: 3 Mar 2017

See all articles by Tamara Rice Lave

Tamara Rice Lave

University of Miami, School of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2016

Abstract

This Article considers the ethical obligation that prosecutors owe imperfect rape victims. Although scholars agree that a prosecutor should not try to convict an innocent person just because the prosecutor would probably win at trial, scant attention has been paid to how a prosecutor should treat a culpable person when the prosecutor would almost certainly lose. This Article contends that when victims are highly vulnerable or are otherwise unattractive to jurors, prosecutors have a special obligation to take their claims seriously. This includes meeting with local police and taking a second look at allegations that might be unfounded or just unsolved. Further, this Article argues that taking such cases to trial has value even if there is no conviction. Doing so increases the legitimacy of the criminal justice system by showing that all victims matter, and it may deter future attacks because victims will no longer be considered easy prey.

Keywords: Imperfect victim, rape, prosecutor's duty, justice, Officer Holtzclaw, criminal law

Suggested Citation

Lave, Tamara Rice, The Prosecutor's Duty to 'Imperfect' Rape Victims (February 1, 2016). Texas Tech Law Review, Vol 49:219 (2016); University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-8. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2926726

Tamara Rice Lave (Contact Author)

University of Miami, School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.miami.edu/facadmin/tlave.php

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