On using a female attorney especially in Sex Cases For Optics, and a More Probing Cross Examination
WASHINGTON, DC, September 25, 2018 – The speculation that the Senate Judiciary Committee would hire a female attorney to question Prof. Christine Blasey Ford at Thursday’s high-stakes hearing – now confirmed by Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) – is very common if not almost standard operating procedure in many situations, especially for those cases which involve sex, says public interest law professor John Banzhaf.
Banzhaf has won over 100 cases of sex discrimination against women, forced the Cosmos Club to admit females, and filed the legal complaint which led to the first woman being admitted to a formerly all-male state-supported college.
Indeed, even having a female attorney sit at the counsel table when an alleged sex offender is on trial is often seen as very helpful, even if she never utters a word, says Banzhaf, since it sends a subtle perhaps almost subliminal message casting doubt about his guilt since a women - by sitting with him - is seen as implicitly vouching for him and his innocence to some extent.
More importantly, female attorneys can get away with asking more probing and sensitive questions than a male who might be seen - or even be portrayed by the other side - as an insensitive misogynist bully who does not understand the female perspective.
For example, asking a female what she thought was likely to happen - and perhaps by implication she agreed to - if she went into a room with two drunken men at a party, is seen as more reasonable, and less as being based upon a misunderstanding of women's expectations, if posed by a female attorney.
Using that tactic is also more likely to help counter the mantra "believe the women" since women will be speaking on both sides of the issue of whether a sexual assault really occurred.
It should be noted that neither side in a criminal, civil, or agency proceeding can object about the gender, race, religion, etc. of opposing counsel, and no party to a proceeding in any major country can insist upon being cross examined by a person of a specific gender, race, etc.
Banzhaf also suggests that attorneys experienced in cases involving sex are much more likely to ask the probing, specific, and precisely framed questions most likely to uncover the truth in which the two major participants tell contradictory stories, and there may be no other helpful evidence, than senators more experienced at giving speeches.
As the famous jurist Wigmore reminded us, "cross-examination is the greatest legal engine ever invented for the discovery of truth," especially in situations such as this.
Needless to say, one assumes that the Democrats, who are objecting to the employment by Republican senators of an experienced female attorney to conduct cross examination for them, are likewise free to employ an experienced sex crime attorneys, of whatever gender, to help them if they wish.