Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Charging victims for the collection of evidence?

Are you kidding me? Many of you have probably already heard about or read the following CNN headline and article about the town of Wasilla, Alaska's practice of charging rape victims for forensic exams during Palin's mayoral term. Thankfully the Alaska legislature corrected this injustice and no longer requires victims to do so. I find Palin's indirect denial of the practice appalling and dishonest. She (or rather the campaign) claims that she was not aware that the victims were being charged and that she does not endorse such practices. Which is btw, a load of BS. How is it possible that the mayor of a small town who went over the city budget and complaints about such a policy would not know about such a practice? It's not. Even though she claims there is nothing "on the record" doesn't mean that she didn't know. The chief of police claimed that charging victims saved the city taxpayers at least $5,000 to 14,000 annually. I'm sure the citizens of Alaska or the Wasilla taxpayers would gladly "pay taxes" to ensure that rapists are prosecuted and that victims are spared the expense and trauma of battling their own insurance companies to pay for it or trying to recoup the expense from the perpetrator. And isn't it part of the State's case and ultimately the State's expense (not the city's) when prosecuting the accused? It's very insightful into the policies and practices of Palin as a public official and where she places priorities. I understand that she wants to keep government small and that taxpayers should not shoulder the cost of social programs, etc. However, this is not a social program. This is the collection of criminal evidence which should not be paid for by the victims of crimes. What's next? Will we ask the victims of robberies to pay for the collection of fingerprints or the response to a 911 call? Will we charge the family of murder victims for DNA testing, the processing of a crime scene or the collection of other evidence? God help us if we do.

Read the article on on CNN.com at Palin's town charged women for rape exams, updated 11:23 AM EDT, Monday, September 22, 2008.