Cornelius Walker comments about the problematic story of a young girl who falsely accused her father of rape, admitted her crime, and is not being tried for the offense.
There is nothing good about this story.
In 2001 Cassandra Kennedy was 11 and had accused her father of raping her on three occasions. Based on her testimony and that of a medical examiner, Thomas Kennedy was convicted and sentenced to over 15 years of which he served nearly ten. Now she has recanted and he has been exonerated and released from jail.
A decade of a man’s life is gone, based on the false testimony of his own child. He’s lost his family, his friends, his reputation, his trust in our judicial system, perhaps even his sense of humanity. But here’s what really caught my attention:
Baur said Cassandra Kennedy will not be prosecuted for her apparent lies about her father, partly because prosecutors do not want to discourage people in similar circumstances from coming forward.
I can understand not prosecuting her because she was 11 when she made her false allegations. It’s a tragedy, to be certain, but what good would come of jailing a woman who was clearly a troubled girl at the time? But just how many “similar circumstances” does the prosecutor think there might be? Shouldn’t that give us pause?
It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.
Blackstone’s formulation has been at the cornerstone of our jurisprudence, but this case raises a troubling question: is it truly better for ten false rape accusers to go free if it encourages one to recant and free an innocent man? Can we really trust our judicial system?
Photo courtesy of 826 PARANORMAL