Friday, September 28, 2018

Is Corroboration A Necessary Element of Sexual Assault Crimes in Maryland?

As part of the nomination process of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, several Senators have said that they do not consider it appropriate to vote against Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination because of the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. They have stated it is a denial of due process to do so, because there is no “corroboration.”  It is true that, at one time, sexual assault had “corroboration” as a required element of the crime. That time ended many years ago.

No corroboration is necessary for a criminal conviction. With regard to the issues surrounding the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford about her sexual assault by Judge Kavanaugh, many Senators and commentators note the lack of corroboration as a factor that would not permit a criminal conviction of Judge Kavanaugh. This appears to be in error. In Maryland, where the sexual assault occured, it should be noted that there is no legal requirement of corroboration of the victim's testimony.

Sen. Flake said in statement Friday morning: “Our system of justice affords a presumption of innocence to the accused, absent corroborating evidence,” he continued. “That is what binds us to the rule of law.” To the contrary, however, the highest court of Maryland stated over 50 years ago that no such corroboration is necessary, in Green v. State, 243 Md. 75, 80 (1966) "Here there was such legally sufficient evidence of the crime of rape based on the testimony of the prosecutrix alone, which as a matter of law need not be corroborated. Although Green denied that he coerced [her] the court was, of course, under no obligation to believe him."

Thus, the idea that Judge Kavanaugh could not be convicted because there is no corroboration of Dr. Ford's testimony is erroneous, at least in Maryland.

See this link: