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California Defense Attorneys Oppose American Bar Association's 'Affirmative Consent' Resolution

California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), California's professional association of public and private criminal defense lawyers, strongly opposes the American Bar Association's Resolution 114 which would redefine consent in criminal sexual assault allegations, and unconstitutionally shift the burden of proof to a defendant in criminal sexual assault cases.

CACJ opposes the resolution's recommendation that persons accused of sexual assault should bear the burden of proving affirmative consent for sexual acts rather than the current and proper practice of requiring the prosecution to prove each element of the offense, including lack of consent.

CACJ holds that shifting of the burden of proof in this way wrongly assumes guilt in any sexual encounter unless the accused can prove affirmative consent. It would often require that an accused give up his or her Fifth Amendment right to remain silent. The proposed resolution runs contrary to a key principle in the American justice system - the presumption of innocence.

"By requiring affirmative consent for all sex acts, the resolution undermines the presumption of innocence," states CACJ President Jacqueline Goodman. "It violates the right to due process and the right to remain silent. Ultimately the resolution would lead to untold wrongful convictions throughout the state and country."

CACJ stands with its national affiliate, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, and criminal defense lawyer associations throughout the country in opposing ABA resolution 114. CACJ endorses NACDL's position statement in opposition to Resolution 114 and urges California's American Bar Association House of Delegates to VOTE NO on ABA resolution 114 at the ABA's August 12 annual meeting.

Read more about Jacqueline Goodman's expertise in defending sex crimes in Orange County and throughout California.

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