Chester County, Pa., District Attorney Joseph Carroll called an appellate court’s ‘s overturning the convictions of three men for assaulting a college student “the worst legal reasoning I have ever seen in an appellate court opinion,” the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. The court said it was “manifestly unreasonable” to assume the woman had not consented to the men’s sexual advances.
The law in Pennsylvania and many other states permits appellate courts to overturn cases where a jury’s decision appears “shockingly like an innocent person has been convicted,” said law Prof. Len Sosnov of Widener University. The defendants have been jailed since 2009, since a West Chester University student, 18, accused them of rape. The appellate court said that “other than her contention that she initially said no to [one defendant’s] attempt to kiss her, during an hour of sexual activity,” she did not cry for help or try to escape. Prosecutor Carroll said said the panel concluded that “a sexual-assault victim is not to be believed unless her injuries are severe enough to meet some Stone Age standard of proof of resistance. [ ] That’s ridiculous.”