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Update On "Sex Isn't Proof Of Rape"
I got an e-mail this morning from Tory Bowen, the woman who said she was raped by Pamir Safi. She says she was drugged -- but evidence wasn't allowed "because the vial of urine sent for ketamine, rohypinol, and all other date rape substances broke in the mail (it's court records)."

I've added her entire e-mail to the bottom of the original entry on the case.

I'd love to hear from any lawyers, cops, or others experienced with this sort of thing. Do they actually mail out a little glass vial of urine when rape is alleged? I mean, while I do think the post office does a very good job, that puts an awful lot of faith in them.

Posted by aalkon at June 28, 2007 6:13 AM


I am not familiar with testing for "rape drugs ' specifically, but I know that Rohypnol can only be detected in the blood for 72 hours max and GHB for about 12 hours. Obviously, time is of the essence, so any mailing to a private lab-- it that is what happened here-- would be expedited. If it is a large city/police dept/hospital, they would be quite familiar with the procedure-- called "chain-of-custody"-- for safely transporting such evidence to and from the lab.
It is hard to believe the vial "broke in the mail"-- unless the record specifically said. A "glass" vial in 2007-- sorry, very doubtful indeed. Vials provided for use per typical physical exams are plastic. Anyway, its fairly easy to protect a small glass vial in mailing.
There is no problem mentioning in court that the evidence was destroyed if it was, so the jury can hear that fact. But there is nothing to make of that knowledge... If no date rape drugs were found, she could still allege she was severely incapacitated by alcohol. Yet it is much better at trial to be able to show you were the helpless victim of a drug without your knowledge vs intoxicated by your own choice.

The best issue in this case is the use of "character evidence"== past alleged acts of uncharged misconduct-- to prove a "plan". Thats a bs exception to the rule barring character evidence to show that since Joe has a history of doing X, he did it again this time. Thats not permitted. But a biased judge can slip character evidence in under one of the exceptions-- here to "prove a plan".. Its a ruse. Jurors are told they cannot use this information to infer "he did it again"-- but they do, because it is human nature to do that . Judges know it. Its like trying to unring a bell and defense attorneys fight like hell to keep past misconduct out becasue they know the jury will misuse it -- as they did in this case. In fact , he would have been acquitted if the juror's had not inappropriately used this information. That danger is why it should not be admitted.
The test is does the evidence's "probative value substantially outweigh the danger of undue prejudice". Like most black letter law the test is meaningless-- it the judge think he is guilty, he finds it has great probative value and lets it in. If he thinks the charges are weak, he keeps it out because it will inflame the jury... its that useless typically. Judges do what they want then dress it up in legal language.
Its obvious uncharged previous instances of similiar alleged behavior leads any person to think "he did it again" and convict. Thats improper. The law requires you to prove Joe did this specific act on this specific occasion and not merely assume he did it here becasue he may have done it in the past...

Posted by: jedwards at June 28, 2007 6:26 PM

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