SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court eased the way today for prosecutors to obtain convictions for rape, ruling unanimously that victims do not need to show they resisted their assailants.
The justices found that in enacting amendments to the law in 1980, the Legislature had clearly intended to remove the need to establish resistance as a prerequisite to rape convictions in order to relieve victims of the "potentially dangerous burden" of resisting attackers in order to substantiate allegations of rape.
The court, in an opinion by Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird, said its ruling was in keeping with a recent trend of "removing evidentiary obstacles" to prosecutions in sexual assault cases.
Sexual History Barred
In recent years, the Legislature has limited psychiatric examinations of rape victims, barred judges from warning jurors that an "unchaste woman" is more likely than others to consent to sexual advances, and largely prohibited the use in court of evidence of an alleged victim's prior sexual conduct.