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What is Rape Shield Law?

THE RAPE SHIELD STATUTE

In Michigan, the Rape Shield Statute was enacted so those claiming to be sexually assaulted would not hesitate or be discouraged from coming forward due to worry/concern that his/her prior sexual activity, would be exposed.  

Typically, if the accuser has a long history of prior sexual conduct with other people one of the first questions the accused wants to know is:  Can we get the accuser’s prior sexual activity with others in? The answer to that question is: NO. (See below for explanation)

The other commonly asked question has to do with the accused who has a prior charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct on his/her record.  The question commonly asked is: Can my prior charge of Criminal Sexual Conduct (no matter what degree) come in at trial ?  The answer to that question is:  YES.  (See below for explanation)

Below, you will find an explanation of what prior sexual conduct information can and cannot be used against both the accused and the accuser.

 

RAPE SHIELD LAW 

Generally, evidence of an accuser’s past sexual conduct is inadmissible.  However, there are two (2) exceptions under the Rape Shield Statute:

1). Evidence of the accuser’s past sexual conduct with the accused:

  • Under the law, if there was consentual sex between the accuser and the accused, that is admissible evidence at trial.
  • If there was consentual sex prior to the trial, but after the accusations, that is considered “past sexual conduct” and is admissible evidence at trial.

2). Evidence of specific instances of sexual activity showing the source or origin of semen, pregnancy, or disease.

  • Whatever conditions result from the actual sex act itself – semen, pregnancy, disease – may be used as evidence during trial.  

Besides the listed exceptions above, there are numerous legal arguments that can be made in order to introduce evidence of an accuser’s prior sexual conduct.  Arguments that only a skilled lawyer who focuses on Sex Crime Cases would know how to successfully argue and win. Being granted the opportunity to introduce evidence of the accuser’s prior sexual conduct, based on one of these arguments, will make a significant difference in the outcome of your case. 

 

COMMON QUESTIONS

RAPE SHIELD LAW

PRIOR CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT BY THE ACCUSER – CAN IT BE USED AGAINST HIM/HER IN THE NEW ALLEGATIONS/CASE?

The short answer is, NO.  Just because the accuser has a bad reputation regarding sexual conduct, that does NOT mean that any of that information will be considered in a court of law. 

PRIOR CRIMINAL SEXUAL CONDUCT BY THE ACCUSED – CAN IT BE USED AGAINST THE ACCUSED IN THE NEW ALLEGATIONS/CASE?

The short answer is, YES.  The state may present any evidence that the accused committed other sex crimes against children.  Typically, if the accused elects to take the stand and testify at his/her own trial, the state can and will be able to question him/her about othere sex crimes committed by the accused.

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