“Rapist by Default”: Is This a Court Ruling That Should Be Possible in the Civilized World?

TALKING BACK to restraining orders

The question in the title of this post isn’t a hypothetical one.

People are nominated rapists by default (as well as “domestic abusers,” “stalkers,” or what have you). They’re accused by restraining order petitioners in civil court (sometimes without their knowledge) and don’t or can’t respond. So they’re found guilty…without a trial.

Let’s say you live in Rhode Island, and someone persuasively accuses you of rape in California in a five-minute recitation before a judge. Now, you either drop everything, hustle your butt to the opposite coast, and convince a judge otherwise…or, presto, you’re a rapist; a default ruling will be entered against you automatically. The ruling will be preserved, too, on your permanent public record.

No cop will have investigated the accusation, no prosecutor will have vetted it, no counsel will be appointed to defend you, and no special allowances will necessarily be made to ensure you have a practicable opportunity to defend yourself. If you fail…

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