From a sexual-assault appeal I’m working on:
I want to ask everybody on the panel the following question: How likely do you think a child would be to lie about being sexually abused? One is very likely; two, likely; three, unlikely; four, very unlikely.
As a criminal-defense lawyer who has represented people who have been falsely accused of sexually abusing children, my answer is “four, very unlikely.” But I interpret the question to mean, “any given child.” And that’s the truth: any given child will most likely not lie about being sexually abused—will never have the opportunity or the motivation. But it just takes one false accusation to ruin a guy’s whole day.1
Now, if I, despite being more skeptical about allegations of sexual abuse than the vast majority of people, would be likely answer at the conservative conviction-friendly end of your scale, how likely is it that you’ll get any meaningful information from a jury panel?
What a waste of time. About par for the course for the State’s voir dire.
If I read the question to mean “how likely is it that some child somewhere will lie at some time about being sexually abused,” my answer would be “one, very likely; in fact, inevitable.” And you wouldn’t know how I was interpreting your stupid fucking question. ↩