Is the Horror of False Accusation More Urgent and Credible when Harvard Law Prof Alan Dershowitz Describes It?

Posted on January 22, 2015

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From “A Nightmare of False Accusation That Could Happen to You” by Alan M. Dershowitz (The Wall Street Journal, Jan. 14, 2015):

Alan M. Dershowitz, arguably “the best-known criminal lawyer in the world,” is a Harvard Law School professor emeritus and a distinguished and prolific writer.

Imagine the following situation: You’re a 76-year-old man, happily married for nearly 30 years, with three children and two grandchildren. You’ve recently retired after 50 years of teaching at Harvard Law School. You have an unblemished personal record, though your legal and political views are controversial. You wake up on the day before New Year’s Eve to learn that two lawyers have filed a legal document that, in passing, asserts that 15 years ago you had sex on numerous occasions and in numerous locations with an underage female.

The accusation doesn’t mention the alleged victim’s name—she’s referred to as Jane Doe #3, and the court document includes no affidavit by her. But her name doesn’t really matter, because you have never had sex with anyone other than your wife during the relevant time period. The accusations against you are totally false, and you can prove it.

Well, that is my situation: I’m the one who has been falsely accused. But let’s continue to imagine it was you:

Your first instinct is to call your lawyer and have him file a denial to the court in which the accusation was made. But your lawyer informs you that you can’t do that because you’re not a party to the lawsuit (against the United States government seeking to vacate the plea bargain your client struck seven years earlier) and have no standing to file any papers.

Not to worry, you imagine, because the lawyers who accused you of these heinous crimes will certainly have to prove them in court, which they will be unable to do, because they’re not true.

No, your lawyer tells you. They didn’t ask for a hearing or any other opportunity to prove the truth of what they alleged. So the accusation will remain on the public record without anyone having to prove it or you having any opportunity to disprove it.

Well, at least you can sue for defamation the two lawyers and the woman who made the false charges. No, you can’t, your lawyer tells you. They leveled the accusation in a court document, which protects them against the defamation lawsuit as a result of the so-called litigation privilege.

[…]

Welcome to the Kafkaesque world of American justice.

Copyright © 2015 RestrainingOrderAbuse.com

*“Imagine the same thing happening to a person who did not have the resources to fight back,” Prof. Dershowitz invites his Wall Street Journal audience, which is something readers here likely don’t have to imagine.

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