2015.50: Possibly the Worst Scaled Question Ever
From a sexual-assault appeal I’m working on:
I want to ask everybody on the panel the following question: How likely do you think a child would be to lie about being sexually abused? One is very likely; two, likely; three, unlikely; four, very unlikely.
As a criminal-defense lawyer who has represented people who have been falsely accused of sexually abusing children, my answer is “four, very unlikely.” But I interpret the question to mean, “any given child.” And that’s the truth: any given child will most likely not lie about being sexually abused—will never have the opportunity or the motivation. But it just takes one false accusation to ruin a guy’s whole day. ((If I read the question to mean “how likely is it that some child somewhere will lie at some time about being sexually abused,” my answer would be “one, very likely; in fact, inevitable.” And you wouldn’t know how I was interpreting your stupid fucking question.))
Now, if I, despite being more skeptical about allegations of sexual abuse than the vast majority of people, would be likely answer at the conservative conviction-friendly end of your scale, how likely is it that you’ll get any meaningful information from a jury panel?
What a waste of time. About par for the course for the State’s voir dire.
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