Criminals’ Rights vs. Victims’ Rights

After 17-year old, Savannah Dietrich, was sexually assaulted last year, the two criminals who attacked her circulated the pictures they had taken of her to their friends.  After the assault, she did the right thing.  She reported the incident and these guys were arrested.

What happened next is not surprising to me.

They cut a deal and pleaded guilty to first-degree sexual abuse and voyeurism.  The terms of the plea bargain are not known but Savannah felt the agreement was too lenient and a mere “slap on the wrist.”  So, when the court ordered her “don’t talk about it, or risk 180 days in prison and a $500 fine,” she, in my mind, again, did the right – and gutsy – thing.

“First, Dietrich cried. Then, she logged online. ‘There you go, lock me up,’ she tweeted to a couple hundred Twitter followers, outing her assailants by name. ‘I’m not protecting anyone that made my life a living Hell.’ These men had made their assault on her public. Now, they had convinced a court to keep it all under wraps. ‘If reporting a rape only got me to the point that I’m not allowed to talk about it, then I regret it,’ she wrote in a note on her Facebook wall. ‘I regret reporting it.’”

Yes, she violated a court order; yes, she knew what the consequences would be.  Of course, charges of contempt were brought against her but were eventually dropped.  But, I say, “good for her!”

I’ve represented hundreds of kids, who were victims of abuse and neglect over my 8-year stint as an attorney in dependency court, but I see absolutely no reason – and, believe me, I’ve heard all the arguments – to protect the identity of teenagers who commit these type of heinous crimes.

Anyone so concerned about concealing the identities of these criminals can explain to me why Savannah’s identity is allowed to be published all over the internet by her assailants but theirs are cloaked in confidentiality.

The attackers’ attorneys allege that Savannah had no right to name her attackers in public.

Why shouldn’t other young women in Savannah’s school and community know the names of these men who attacked her?  Why aren’t women – potential victims – being informed?  Don’t they have a right to know they could be living next door to a rapist or that one of them is actually a classmate?

Here are Savannah’s own words:  “The laws that protect criminals shouldn’t cross over and take away victims’ rights. Victims’ rights should come first. And thank you.”

Protecting criminals’ identities – I don’t get it, but if you do, God bless you.

Author Bio:

For over twenty years, Leona has tried to heed her husband’s advice, “you don’t have to say everything you think.” She’s failed miserably. Licensed to practice law in California and Washington, she works exclusively in the area of child abuse and neglect. She considers herself a news junkie and writes about people and events on her website, “I Don’t Get It,” which she describes as the “musings of an almost 60-year old conservative woman on political, social and cultural life in America.” It’s not her intention to offend anyone who “gets it.” She just doesn’t. Originally from Brooklyn, and later Los Angeles, she now lives with her husband, Michael, on a beautiful island in the Pacific Northwest, which she describes as a bastion of liberalism.
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  • Anti WJB

     Anyone so concerned about concealing the identities of these criminals
    can explain to me why Savannah’s identity is allowed to be published all
    over the internet by her assailants but theirs are cloaked in

    WTF are you that STUPID?  She via her 1st amendment rights, went public.  where is your head? Up your ASS? the assailants didnt publish/ out her name.

  • Stnley Kubrick

    She passed out topless after a throwing up violently from alcohol poisoning….they only took pictures, noone touched her.   
    The boys were forced to plea guilty to sexual abuse and voyeurism because it has fewer repercussions than … child pornography charges they’d otherwise get for taking puictures (they also never posted her images online as was reported).  
    Thus why the DA accepted the plea, in cases of “rape” plea bargains are very rare because evidence so incriminating can support the crime.   
    It was only when she heard about the pictures MONTHS later and decided to take legal actions.  
    The Courier Journal, who originally published the story, is facing a lawsuit for publishing false allegations because Dietrich used the words “rapists” and such when interviewed. She was not raped and the media now is painting the boys charged as rapists.   
    Basically she’s embarrassed and angry about the photos thus why she took legal action only when they came out months later. Whiteness that were with Dietrich the entire night who assisted her while throwing up said she wasn’t raped.  

  • robin in fl

    it can also go both ways though…i could have sex with a guy and then when he tells me to go home iI could go to the police and say he raped me(not as though this doesn’t happen)..His photo will be on the 6 o’clock news showing he is charged with rape..mine will not be shown even if I am the one that is not telling the truth.(people do lie sometimes)…kind of like  what the NC Duke lacross players went through…The photos of them were all over the news,while the ‘aleged’ victim could be hiden(and later was found out to be a lie)..hmmm?????not fair say I.

        just as not showing these teens faces is not fair…..BOTH ways are wrong.

  • DanB_Tiffin

    A lot of sick liberals see many common criminals – no matter what – “as poor disenfranchised victims of social injustice”  That is right, they are NOTseen as criminals, just as victims of an unjust society.  And they treat them as such.

    • Somekindofpatriot

      Your right, they see them as poor disenfrachised victims of social injustice but when they are the victim it’s another story. You will never hear anyone looking for sympathy and justice like a liberal victim. Just like with everything else, liberals only see one side and that’s their side, it’s like a sickness. You can see it happening  over and over but they are completely blind to it. It never ceases to amaze me. 

  • Ron F

    I am not sure it is a matter of criminals’ rights and victims’ rights.  The case was tried in juvenile court.  The Judge in the case said she never issued a formal gag order forbidding Savannah Dietrich from talking about the case.  She said she followed the law in reminding everyone involved that juvenile proceedings in Kentucky are confidential and that Savannah Dietrich must comply with the laws of the commonwealth.  There are reasons why juvenile court records are kept confidential.  I believe most states have confidentiality laws for juvenile court proceedings.  On the other hand, I do not know how the Commonwealth can prevent people from talking about a case.  The Commonwealth can restrict access to case records but it should not be able to restrict anyone from talking about the case.

  • Wen Jiabao

    Savannah faced up to 180 days in jail.  A jury trial is not a “requirement” to have her imprisoned.  That is from some federal case.  If the threat of imprisonment was more than 6 months then a jury trial is a right.

    Nullification came about because lawyers Mejia and Klein and judge Deana “Dee” McDonald realized they risked their lives if they proceeded to victimize Savannah even more.

  • Roger Ward

    Had the charges stood against Savannah Dietrich and had she been tried, this would have been a perfect opportunity for jury nullification.  Recently there was a guy in northern California who went on trial for beating up the priest who had molested (raped?) him years earlier.  His jury could not agree on a verdict, so he ended up going home.  It’s a shame that Dietrich even faced charges and would have had to hope for a similar result!  Blame the victim!