Daniel E. Doty


In a series of three cases that culminate with Morgan v. State, Alaska's courts established a unique protection for defendants in sexual assault cases. This protection, which allows such defendants to attack their victims in court with previous reports of sexual assault that did not result in prosecution, is not afforded to defendants in other cases and is based on a dubious "general principle" that the credibility of sexual assault victims has "special relevance." The protection is problematic in several ways: it is grounded in erroneous stereotypes about the victims of sex crimes; it is detrimental to victims and the pursuit of truth; it is inconsistent with traditional rules of evidence; and it is unnecessary to protect the rights of defendants. For these reasons, this protection for defendants in sexual assault cases should be abrogated by legislative action as proposed herein.

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