Friday, February 27, 2009

Watch Your Language: A Lesson for Callous, Arrogant, and Insensitive Attorneys

What happened:

A Bridgeport, Connecticut federal judge awarded a teenager who had been victimized in a child pornography situation $200,000 for what the local newspaper called a, “well-heeled professional who downloaded images of her being sexually abused” (The News-Times, Tuesday, February 24, 2009, page A5; The Associated Press contributed to this story).

The defense attorney’s response to the ruling:

The first of its kind ruling drew this response from the defendant’s attorney, Jonathan Einhorn:

“It’s not a reasonable award when you consider the injuries this victim suffered related to what my client may have caused,” Einhorn said. “An award like this will probably open the floodgates.”

What this defense attorney might have meant:

“This kid is probably responsible for being in the circumstance she found herself in. She shouldn’t have been there in the first place. Where were her parents when all of this was going on?

My client is the innocent victim of readily available material on the Web. Those who produced it should be punished rather than my client, who had virtually nothing to do with it. This woman was not damaged enough to receive an award like this.”

What the defense attorney should have said:

“We abhor the abuse of any individual, for any reason. My client is already being punished by the court for his actions in this matter, adding this new burden will simply encourage others to attempt to do the same.

We will appeal this decision.”

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Blogger Bob VandePol said...

In a prior professional capacity as a behavioral health professional I very, very frequently worked with abusive families. It was often helpful to conceptualize those families as a triangle with the sides being victim/perpetrator, perpetrator/non-protective parent, and victim/non-protective parent. Interestingly, the relational line segment most resistant to clarification or resolution was that between victim and non-protector. That relationship was most characterized by rage and irreconcilable issues. Caution: do not assume that position.

February 27, 2009 at 6:37 PM  

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