Friday, May 05, 2006

False Rape Accusations

Betsy's Page points to Wendy McElroy asking the question of how common this is. I think it is a good, fair, and reasonably accurate post on the topic. I take minor exception to one bit of information and the way she uses it.
Politically correct feminists claim false rape accusations are rare and account for only 2 percent of all reports. Men's rights sites point to research that places the rate as high as 41 percent. These are wildly disparate figures that cannot be reconciled.
She then goes into a study of the percentage of cases where there is DNA evidence and what percentages of those cases are the accused a match. This is all very interesting and looks very similar to other data I have seen over the years.

There is just one problem. We have to separate what I would refer to as "false accusations" and cases where a woman was raped but she or the cops fingered the wrong man. The majority of rape cases are processed without DNA and at least some percentage of convictions involving DNA evidence are "false accusations", where a woman had consensual sex and then, for whatever reason, claimed rape later.

Statistics on these groupings are VERY difficult to ascertain. What I think we do know is:
  • a significant, and many people believe it is a majority, of real rape cases never legally file a complaint, yet alone get prosecuted.
  • some percentage of rape allegations charge the wrong person, mostly without any bad intent, and in such cases DNA can correct that if it is present
  • some percentage of mugging allegations charge the wrong person too and being mugged is less traumatic than being raped so one would guess that bad IDs are more common with rape than mugging
  • some percentage of rape allegations are patently false, made up out of whole cloth, usually as an act of revenge
Because of the nature of these things you can find studies putting the percentages of these categories from very high to very low. Ergo, you have to take each case on its own.

DWI without alcohol

During the discussions everywhere about Congressman Kennedy's little altercation there was a question I had that I did not see answered. It is my understanding that the law about DWI varies greatly from place to place. We had warnings on the radio last summer about the fact that you can get a DWI and lose your license in CO if your allergy medications make you drowsy or otherwise impair your driving. Is that the case in D.C.? Betsy's Page dug up the answer. And the answer is yes. That being the case, if we are going to treat the Congressman like everyone else, he should be very glad that he can afford a chauffeur. He is gonna need one for a while.

I do not want to speculate about the how's and why's until we know more but the man has admitted to being disoriented while driving as a result of taking prescribed meds. With or without alcohol his actions would seem to fit the known side effects of those meds, so while he might not be being totally honest, what he has told us fits what we know for sure. As a result, I think he should be presumed to be being completely honest about it until we know otherwise for sure, his family's penchant for not doing so aside. As they say, one should not visit the sins of the father upon the son.

He has just announced at a press conference that he is going back to rehab. I sincerely hope that goes well for him. He should still lose his license for a while, but I hope he can get control of his addiction problem.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Today's bit of humor

My phone rang a bit ago and a buddy asked me how I thought "the day without illegals" went. After I said I thought it had backfired and commerce mostly continued untouched, he hit me with the punch line I didn't see coming.
I thought the day without illegals went pretty well. I am trying to enlist support for trying it for a year!
I thought it was funny.

Giving Diane her due

I have ripped apart a number of columns by Denver post columnist Diane Carmen. In general I find her work to be very poor. Much to my surprise I found a column by her today that is well written and told me about some things I was unaware of before reading the column. If you live in Colorado, go read it and be afraid, be very afraid. It is beginning to look like it might not be safe to turn on a TV here in October.

Assuming all these proposals make the ballot you will all get my take on them (if you care) before election day.

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Are we headed to the USSC with NSA program?

The Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a suit against AT&T over a charge that the NSA installed a device in the San Francisco office in 2003 that they claim is illegal. The US government has asked the US District Judge to dismiss the suit to prevent the release of secrets.
In a "Statement of Interest" filed on Friday, the government asked U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker to throw out the suit, saying the government "cannot disclose any information that may be at issue in this case."
This is clearly an "NSA international terrorist warrentless wiretap" case. We know all the case law supports the government but we also know that we are in the 9th Circuit. I predict we see this one go all the way up the chain to the USSC. Unfortunately, I don't think the court system moves fast enough to have that happen before the November elections.