Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Stubblefield trial opens

It is opening day for the Anna Stubblefield trial, with jury selection first on the agenda.
In the coming weeks, a man known as D.J., who suffers from cerebral palsy and other ailments, will enter a Newark courtroom while being escorted by his mother.
To Essex County prosecutors, D.J. is the severely mentally disabled victim of repeated sexual assaults by Rutgers-Newark professor Anna Stubblefield. To Stubblefield, D.J. consented to their sexual trysts through a controversial communication method, known as "facilitated communication."
Jurors will be asked to pick between those two scenarios when Stubblefield's trial gets under way early next month on two counts of aggravated sexual assault. Jury selection is scheduled to begin today before Superior Court Judge Siobhan Teare.
Stubblefield, 45, of West Orange, is accused of sexually assaulting D.J. in her Newark office in 2011. After the allegations surfaced, Rutgers placed Stubblefield on administrative leave without pay and stripped her of the title of chairwoman of the philosophy department.
The case rests largely on whether D.J. consented to the sexual activity and the allegations that Stubblefield knew or should have known D.J. was unable to consent.
The state's experts have determined D.J. does not have the ability to consent. Stubblefield's attorney, James Patton, has said D.J. may be physically impaired, but he has the mental capacity to understand questions and give his consent.
The trial is expected to include testimony from D.J.'s family and various experts, in addition to Stubblefield's ex-husband, Roger Stubblefield.
After learning his wife lied to him about taking their marriage counseling seriously, Roger Stubblefield gave prosecutors a document his wife had written at her attorney's direction. The document allegedly details her sexual relationship with D.J. The couple later divorced.
Anna Stubblefield had sought to keep that document out of the trial, saying it was confidential material within the attorney-client relationship. But in ruling the document was admissible, Teare said in January that Stubblefield waived the attorney-client privilege when she gave the document to her ex-husband.
D.J. is not expected to testify, but he will be escorted into the courtroom by his mother during the trial to be presented as a "demonstrative exhibit."

I continue to hope that Stubblefield and the prosecutor work out a plea deal. This case is a mess: love lust, good intentions, bad science, worse philosophy, and pain all around.

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