Monday, October 18, 2010

Professor: Barnes charges 'false'

Barnes served on State Bar panel that reviewed and OK'd legislation

In a desperate, last-ditch smear on Nathan Deal, Roy Barnes is embarrassing himself by telling lies about Deal's work to update Georgia's rules of evidence to meet federal standards - which 42 states have done.

Just how desperate is he? Roy Barnes SERVED on the State Bar Evidence Committee of Georgia during the time that panel reviewed and approved this legislation.

You don't have to take our word for it. Professor of Law at Georgia State University, Paul Milich - who drafted the reform of the evidence code in the legislation - had this to say:

"To suggest, as the ad does, that the proposal approved by the State Bar would have abolished rape shield protection for victims in Georgia is simply and absolutely false."

He went on to say that Barnes's allegation that this legislation would have softened the protection for victims of rape is in insult to lawyers and judges:

"The point to keep in mind is that nobody was remotely suggesting that Georgia back off its protection of rape victims. No one on the State Bar Committee would ever have even suggested that we reduce protection for rape victims. That is an insult to the thoughtful lawyers and judges who served on that committee."

The proposed law actually strengthened protections for victims. First, it expanded the shield to ALL sexual assault victims, whereas before it covered only rape victims. Second, it had no exception to the rape shield for "highly material" evidence that would suggest consent. Third, the proposed rule stated that even if the evidence of the victim's past was admissible under an exception, the trial judge also had to find that the need for or probative value of the evidence outweighed its prejudicial effect on the victim before allowing it in.

"This has become absolutely pathetic," said Deal spokesman Brian Robinson. "Trial lawyer Roy Barnes defended child molesters and murderers, doing his part to keep criminals on the streets of Georgia. While Nathan has a tough-on-crime record, Roy Barnes has an anything-for-a-dime record."

Nathan Deal was a respected prosecutor who put rapists in prison and authored the Georgia law that allows victim impact statements at the time of sentencing. Nathan also supported the Violence Against Women and DOJ Reauthorization Act of 2005 that increased annual VAWA funding from $185 million per year to $225 million per year. The bill also supported the placement of special victim assistants in law enforcement to serve as liaisons between victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sex assault and stalking -- and law enforcement personnel. It also increased by $10 million funding for services for victims of violence, including rape crisis centers and other rape and violence support centers.


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