Local News

March 24, 2013

Life after accusation

Man acquitted of rape wants justice system reform

(Continued)

Protecting victims, protecting defendants

District Attorney Bert Poston said the rape shield law is intended to protect victims who already have to overcome serious concerns about reporting the crimes.

“The purpose of the rape shield law is to prevent the trial over the defendant’s alleged criminal conduct from instead focusing on irrelevant and often unsubstantiated claims about the victim’s past and thereby to avoid discouraging victims from reporting sexual assaults in the first place,” Poston said.

Murray acknowledges that it’s possible someone who is a prostitute or engages in other activity that society looks down on can still be a victim of rape. He just believes that in at least some circumstances, the jury — which prosecutors have said during other trials is the sole entity to decide about witnesses’ credibility — should be given all of the information.

Green’s bond was initially set at $200,000 but later lowered to $150,000. When he did get out of jail, he had to wear an ankle monitor and was not allowed to leave his house except for certain specific trips such as going to the doctor or to visit his lawyer.

His criminal record includes a charge related to receiving unemployment checks, which Green attributes to a mix-up at the time. Poston said bond was initially denied not because of any past criminal history but because there was concern with Green trying to influence witnesses, an allegation Green said was untrue.

Court records show he was eventually allowed to look for a job, but his bond conditions still prohibited him from being around children and adult females other than his wife. He could go out to eat only at two Dalton restaurants but only if the dinners occurred before 9 p.m. and only if he advised a detective ahead of time.

All that was without a conviction and before he’d had his trial. His conditions were very similar to those of someone who was serving time on probation. Green said he’s received no apology from anyone, and he feels he has no recourse in which to regain what he lost.

He’s researching the possibility of a lawsuit, but suing a defendant who has no financial means can be cost-prohibitive. Suing anyone in law enforcement or the court system is difficult because those officials are protected by a shield that is lifted usually only in cases of intentional wrongdoing. In fact, Poston said he stands by his decision to prosecute Green and believes the grand jury was right to indict him.

In Green’s case, several family members provided statements to authorities questioning what they said was inappropriate sexual behavior over several years, while at least one of the accuser’s family and a former boyfriend said she had lied before about being raped by other men.

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