Proposed reforms of Title IX sexual assault and harassment procedures from the Department of Education and Secretary Betsy Devos have gotten a lot of press for supposedly tilting the field in favor of the accused, vs. that of the accusers. High on the list of complaints are that the DoEd would require hearings and the opportunity for cross examination.
Now, having heard a story or two of the antics of defense lawyers in cross examination, I can appreciate why many would despise and fear it. Some people are, indeed, just total jerks, and that's putting it very mildly. However, former Trump attorney Michael Cohen has inadvertently done us a service through his otherwise pathetic Congressional testimony by wandering into the standard trap of cross examination.
Specifically, while appearing to blatantly violate the tradition of confidentiality between lawyers and their clients--a confidentiality mirrored in attorney-client privilege--Cohen appears to have wandered into the standard trap set by hearings and cross examination; like all liars, he found it difficult to tell the same lie twice, and in doing so, a couple of Congressmen compared his testimony to his sentencing statements and decided to refer him to the DOJ for charges.
Now many will see this differently than Jim Jordan and all, but circling back to the topic of sexual assault, remember that most sexual assaults have precisely two witnesses, the accuser and the defendant. Sometimes physical evidence makes eyewitness testimony less important, but as a rule, it comes down to that testimony.
And if you end the practice of hearings and cross examination, what you end up with is the danger spoken of in Proverbs 18:17; the first to state his case seems right until another comes forward and cross examines. In other words, it tends to give the decision not to the right person, but to the best "BSer" or the person with the best political connections--the very picture of a kangaroo court, really.
I have some real concerns with the DeVos plan, starting with the notion that a university would not be required to take action for off-campus crimes, but requiring a hearing, cross examination, and a reasonable standard of proof are not among my concerns.
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