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New York Considers Stronger Sex Crime Prosecutions After Weinstein

New York lawmakers want to change the legal standard that Harvey Weinstein used to get his rape conviction overturned, proposing a bill to strengthen sexual assault prosecutions after the disgraced movie mogul’s case was tossed. Last month, the state’s highest court late last month threw out Weinstein’s conviction, finding that a trial judge erroneously allowed women to testify about allegations that weren’t part of his criminal charges, the Associated Press reports.

Now, a group of state lawmakers is pushing a proposal to explicitly allow evidence of prior sexual offenses in sex crimes cases, while also giving judges discretion to bar the testimony if it would create “undue prejudice” against a defendant. “In sexual assault cases, which typically rely on testimony of the survivor, it is essential and critical. It allows a perpetrator’s pattern of behavior to be presented in court,” Assemblymember Amy Paulin, a Democrat sponsoring the bill, said at a news conference for the legislation in Manhattan on Thursday.

Currently, New York does allow such evidence to be used in some instances, such as to prove a motive, in a standard set by legal precedent.


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