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As Chief Justice, Roy Moore Railed Against Alabama's Rape Shield Law

As Chief Justice of Alabama's Supreme Court, Roy Moore argued against the scope of Alabama's rape shield law according to the Guardian. (image credit: Youtube)

As Chief Justice of Alabama's Supreme Court, Roy Moore argued against the scope of Alabama's rape shield law according to the Guardian.

As chief justice of Alabama’s supreme court, Moore twice argued that the state’s “rape shield” law should not prevent alleged sex offenders from using certain evidence about their underage accusers’ personal lives to discredit them. The cases were among 10 between 2013 and 2016 where Moore dissented from the court’s majority view and sided with alleged offenders who were appealing to the court as part of their efforts to overturn convictions or punishments for sexual crimes.

In one dissent, Roy Moore claimed that the scope of Alabama's rape shield law was applied in an overly broad manner against David Pittman. Moore thought it was relevant that jurors know that Pittman's 12-year-old accuser had a sexually transmitted disease and was sexually active.

Among Moore’s 10 dissents were those that sided with appeals by David Pittman, who had pleaded guilty to the rape of a 12-year-old girl. Moore in September 2015said that Pittman ought to have been allowed to present evidence to court indicating that the girl had been sexually active and had a sexually transmitted disease. “I believe this evidence could be relevant to the complaining witness’s alleged motive in accusing Pittman and that it is not barred by … the rape-shield rule,” Moore wrote in his dissent. The Alabama rape-shield law includes an exception that says evidence against the accuser can be used if “excluding it would violate the defendant’s constitutional rights”. Moore argued in his dissent that Pittman was being denied his right to be confronted by any witnesses testifying against him.

In 2014, Moore made a similar argument in his dissent about the Sherman Tate case. Tate claimed that two of his victims were in a same-sex relationship and that he wanted to confront them under oath about their relationship. Moore believed that Tate should have been allowed to confront his two 15-year-old victims about their supposed relationship since their relationship could have been interpreted as 'bias' or evidence of 'collusion' against the defendant.

The rape-shield law also arose in the case of Sherman Tate, a school mentor who was convicted of coercing two 15-year-old female students to touch him sexually. Moore argued in June 2014 that attorneys for Tate should have been allowed to tell jurors that he believed the girls were bisexual and in a relationship together. Moore said evidence of a relationship between the teenage girls “could be relevant to the victims’ alleged bias against Tate or their collusion” and that this should not be barred by the state’s rape-shield rules.

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