William Jeffrey Dumas, who was originally convicted of two counts of rape and one count of sodomy, was sentenced to 25 years in prison. The story should have ended there, but for the work of Appeals Court Judge Christopher McFadden, who felt that the man didn't do it. There was no hard evidence that exonerated the man that hadn't come up in the trial in which he was convicted, but the judge just had a feeling.
According to an order justifying his decision, McFadden cited that the victim lacked an "exhibited visible distress," in being around the defendant immediately following the alleged rape incidents. He also said that Dumas didn't appear very remorseful for the crime so therefore wasn't likely too have committed it. So in McFadden's court room, if you remain indignant about a crime you have been charged with, he will side with you. A new development in legal theory which, if made universal, would prevent the conviction of roughly every single person ever charged with a crime.
"At no time prior to her outcry ... did (the victim) behave like a victim," McFadden wrote in his decision. "Nor did Mr. Dumas behave like someone who had recently perpetrated a series of violent crimes against her. ... It requires more than that bald argument to satisfy this court that it should ignore the fact that, until the outcry, neither of them showed any fear, guilt or inclination to retreat to a place of safety."Victims often behave in different ways and what a rape victims does immediately after the rape is not an indicator of whether or not it occurred (although defense attorneys have argued that it is, of course.) Part of what researchers of sexual assault call "Rape Trauma Syndrome" is that people respond to it differently. These aren't always obvious, either. In many cases, for example, the victim won't show outward signs of distress. This can be seen as part of the coping process with what is a major physical and psychological trauma.