Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Profile of DSK's Accuser

The New York Times has published a profile of DSK's accuser, based on extensive reporting. Yesterday, DSK's attorneys said that they were not planning to attack her reputation, and to judge by the Times article, they wouldn't have much to go on if they did. Although the woman's name is now routinely used in French news reports, the Times, consistent with American practice in rape cases, does not mention it, nor will I. We now await official confirmation of the reported DNA and other physical evidence. If this evidence is as reported, and there is no basis on which to attack the woman's veracity, I'm not sure what defense DSK's attorneys can mount. "Consent" will seem quite implausible if the Times' portrait is accurate.


Cincinna said...

  Very interesting profile of the alleged victim from the NYT. This could be the story of thousands of other hard working people who come to America seeking a better life. Any jury in NY would find her sympathetic and credible. 
  Mr. Strauss-Kahn will have to come to terms with the reality of his situation. 
  The overwhelming evidence against him, and an extremely sympathetic victim. 
As I see it, he has two options: his lawyers have only one possible defense as a legal option in a trial, consent. 
  A desperate defense in a desperate situation. Insanity, temporary or otherwise, is not a defense in NYS. (The standard is competency to stand trial which he obviously is).  
  He can risk a jury trial with very high possibility of conviction, and spend what amounts to the rest of his life in prison, or he can negotiate a plea agreement with the Prosecutor, in exchange for a reduced prison sentence. He would have to admit to the crimes he is pleading guilty to in detail, in front if the Judge, in open court, and show remorse, and apologize to the victim. 
  Facing a one way ticket to Attica, DSK does not have a lot of options. 

Mary Campbell Gallagher, J.D., Ph.D. said...

I must point out a factual error about New York law in what Cincinna wrote. Cincinna is misinformed in claiming that "insanity, temporary or otherwise, is not a defense in NYS."

I refer readers to New York Penal Law section 40.15, Mental disease or defect. It reads as follows:

"In any prosecution for an offense, it is an affirmative defense that when the defendant engaged in the proscribed conduct, he lacked criminal responsibility by reason of mental disease or defect . . . ."

An affirmative defense is one in which the defendant has the burden of proof. The standard is a civil standard, the preponderance of the evidence. With an ordinary defense, by contrast, the prosecution has the higher standard of disproving the defense beyond a reasonable doubt.

Accordingly, to assert insanity (mental disease or defect) successfully as a defense, DSK would have to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he "lacked criminal responsibility by reason of mental disease or defect."

Cincinna said...

  If DSK were your client, how would you advise him? Try to plead it out, or risk a one way ticket to Attica in front of a Manhattan jury?

  My mistake, a technical one. The insanity defense exists, but is very rarely used in NY, or elsewhere, because, simply put, juries don't buy it, and insist that people take responsibility for their actions. In fact, it does require proof 
that the defendant does not know the difference between 
right and wrong, and/or suffers from a mental disease or 
defect. Absent true mental defect, juries just don't buy this. 
  Mr. Strauss-Kahn is obviously competent to stand trial and understand the proceedings. Arrogance and moral indifference  is not a defense against the criminal charges against him. 
  Insanity defense is not applicable at all in DSK case. He would have a better chance with a Jury with "the Devil made me do it " defense.

Anonymous said...

Insanity doesn't apply when you're the Head of the IMF. You can plead "temporary insanity", but the very fact he calmly went to his lunch (if such a lunch really happened) and then to the airport would contradict this, unless the idea of a 20mn insanity seems plausible to you - If the "20mn insanity" defense were legal, there wouldn't be anyone convicted anywhere. I'm sure someone may at times "lose it", after a shock or in anger, etc, but none of this applies here.
As for consent, Art is right, I don't see how the attorneys can plead "consent". I'm not sure how DSK could plead.
However rape cases are notorious for being hard to try - the lawyers only have to find one juror who doubts a man of Strauss Kahn's stature would be so impulsive as to assault a chamber maid, and he's off. That's probably what they're banking on.

Cincinna said...


DSK Claimed Diplomatic Immunity When Arrested: Documents
From his responses to the cops he doesn't sound
particularly smart to me.

When Dominique Strauss-Kahn was arrested at John F. Kennedy airport last month on his way out of the country, police said he initially told them "I have diplomatic immunity." 

When police asked him to show his papers, he answered: “It’s not in this passport, I have a second passport. Can I speak with someone from the French Consulate?”  

Strauss-Kahn’s statements are contained in a Voluntary Disclosure Form given by prosecutors to defense lawyers and filed by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance on Thursday. The documents contain summaries of what Strauss-Kahn, the former IMF chief, said as he was being questioned by detectives about his alleged sex attack on a hotel maid.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Prosecutors also advised defense lawyers they will soon turn over DNA results, witness lists, video from security cameras and other evidence in the case for their review.  

According to the documents, during his questioning, Strauss-Kahn told police he wanted to speak with his lawyer.

DSK: "What is this about?"

Police: "Manhattan Detectives need to speak with you about an incident in a hotel room."

DSK: "Then I need to make a call and let them know I won’t be at my meeting tomorrow. These handcuffs are tight."

Later, the one-time contender for the French presidency said again he needed his lawyer.

DSK: “I would like to call my lawyer, Bill Taylor. I need my cell phone.”

Police: "We’re going to have to wait for the detectives to come back. I don’t have access to your phone.”

DSK: "Do I need a lawyer?”

Police: "It is your right to have one in this country if you want. I don’t know if you have some kind of diplomatic status."

DSK: "No, No, No. I’m not trying to use that. I just want to know if I need a lawyer."

Police: "That is up to you."

Later, he speaks with his attorney and tells police, ”My attorney has told me not to talk. I was ready to talk.”