The controversy surrounding Brett Kavanaugh may have seized the spotlight over the last few weeks, but an incident on the other side of the country is providing a sharp reminder of why evidence and presumption of innocence are so important.
By now, almost everyone is aware of the vague and unproven allegations made against Kavanaugh, who has been nominated to be the next Supreme Court justice.
The accusation that received the most serious attention involves a woman named Christine Blasey Ford, who insisted that nearly 40 years ago, she was sexually assaulted at a party when they were both high schoolers.
That accusation is both unproven and likely un-provable, but it doesn’t seem to matter. The left has trotted out the usual slogans and talking points, declaring that we should “believe all women” and destroy Kavanaugh’s career — if not his life — because an accuser seemed emotional on television.
Jump to Las Vegas, Nevada. That’s where four men were recently accused of kidnapping and rape by a woman who told police she was assaulted at a well-known hotel.
“A woman alleges that the four men raped her repeatedly in a room at the Wynn early Saturday after she met one of the men at a Wynn bar,” reported KSNV TV.
The men, three of whom are brothers, “face charges that include sex assault, conspiracy to commit sex assault and first-degree kidnapping,” continued the report.
There’s just one glaring problem: They didn’t do it.
On Monday, a Nevada court dropped every single one of the charges against the arrested men, after evidence including video from hotel surveillance cameras made it clear that the woman had invented the heinous story.
“Prosecutors dropped all charges during a very brief hearing Monday before Las Vegas Justice Court Judge Eric Goodman,” explained KSNV TV in a follow-up to their earlier story.
“After a review of the facts of the case, it was clear that the allegations were completely fabricated,” said Robert Draskovich, one of the attorneys involved in the case. “The (video) evidence confirmed the men’s innocence, and the state has cleared them of all charges.”
While they didn’t reference the Kavanaugh confirmation by name, the vindicated men did hint at it in a statement released to the media.
“At this sensitive moment in our history, we believe that women should be respected and heard and believed,” they stated.
“But as this case shows, it is also important to keep a critical eye on those willing to use the (#MeToo) movement for their own selfish motives and remember that innocent until proven guilty is one of our country’s bedrock principles,” they continued.
Both of those points are important.
Contrary to the liberal narrative, no serious conservative is saying that women shouldn’t be listened to. The fact that the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee went out of its way to let Blasey Ford speak — and even offered to send investigators to her location so that she could meet privately — demonstrates that listening to women is exactly what was done.
However, that’s very different from blindly accepting an accusation without any proof or solid evidence, and that’s where the second part of the falsely-accused men’s statement comes into play.
They’re absolutely right: Presumption of innocence is a core principle of justice, and we abandon it at great peril.
There is a vast difference between expecting law enforcement to show up when a report is made, and having them jail or shoot everyone on sight without gathering facts. The former is part of due diligence; the latter is a police state.
Ironically, it is liberals who usually call for more presumption of innocence and slower rushes to judgement when it comes to minorities being accused of crimes. Apparently jumping to conclusions without evidence is appalling when it happens in the inner city, but absolutely encouraged when it comes to a straight white male.
More irony: The same voices who have insisted that men and women are identical seem to be in denial that both sexes sometimes lie. Cases like Duke Lacrosse and the University of Virginia incident make this even more clear.
That doesn’t mean we ignore women, and it doesn’t mean we ignore men.
What it means is simple: We implement standards of proof that put the burden on the accuser, and require evidence plus witnesses to condemn somebody.
Newsflash: Those standards already exist, and have been part of the American justice system for centuries. Instead of throwing them out and flirting with anarchy based on emotions, maybe it would be wise to remember why they exist in the first place, and start taking them seriously.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.