Thursday, September 10, 2015

Stubblefield trial begins

The trial of Anna Stubblefield started with a dramatic introduction yesterday:
With the 34-year-old man suffering from cerebral palsy and other disabilities, the mother said she changes his diapers, bathes him, dresses him and feeds him. She helps him with walking or escorts him in a wheelchair.
On Wednesday afternoon, the mother was assisting her son once again — into a Newark courtroom for the trial of the Rutgers-Newark professor accused of sexually assaulting him.
Walking backwards, the woman held her son's hands and guided him into the courtroom. He looked around, glancing over the faces of the jurors and the lights on the ceiling.
As they approached the jury box, the mother stepped behind her son, placed her hands on his shoulders and introduced him to the panel.
"Jury, this is my son," the mother said, then stating his full name.
The introduction came on the first day of the trial of Anna Stubblefield, who is facing two counts of aggravated sexual assault for allegedly abusing the man, known as D.J., in her Newark office in 2011.
The prosecution has to prove that D.J. did not consent to sex with Stubblefield presumably because he is incapable of consent.
 The trial centers on whether D.J. consented to the sexual activity. Prosecutors argue D.J. was unable to consent, but Stubblefield, 45, of West Orange, claims he consented through a controversial technique, known as "facilitated communication."

Stubblefield's attorney, James Patton, however, told jurors Stubblefield and D.J. had fallen in love and were in a consensual relationship.
By working with D.J. through facilitated communication, Stubblefield learned he is "an intelligent man trapped in a hideously handicapped body," Patton said. As their relationship progressed, Stubblefield and D.J. ultimately told his family that "they were in love," Patton said.
"What happened between these two people was not sexual assault," Patton said in his opening statement.
Question: From a legal point of view, whether or not D.J. is capable of consent, if Stubblefield can show she had a reasonable belief that he had consented, based on her facilitated communication with him, (even without showing that facilitated communication is effective, and recall that the judge disallowed proponents of fc to testify as experts on its effectiveness) would that be grounds for acquittal?

No comments:

Post a Comment