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thoughts on current issues

The 2016 Presidential Election and Child Rape

Frankly, even as I typed out the title to this post, I have a hard time believing that a scenario could possibly exist which would require me to put the phrases “presidential election” and “child rape” in concert with one another. Yet, here we are. In a way, we the voting public are all America’s children and–I want to put this as delicately as possible, so as not to denigrate the very real sufferings of the actual victims of sexual predators–for two years we have been subjected to fresh horrors on a weekly basis at the hands of the surrogate mother/father figures embroiled in a seemingly never-ending domestic dispute at our nation’s dinner table.

Dad screams “Benghazi!” and throws steaming platefuls of emails at Mom’s head. Mom calls Dad a racist pig and dumps a pot of boiling tax returns over his head. Shocked and embarrassed, his spray-tan streaking down his face and staining his shirt collar, Dad shouts “MY HAIR!” and tries to grab Mom in the “special place” where we were told not to touch other children. Shrieking in horror, Mom hides behind Alicia Machado, a friend of the family who Dad calls our housekeeper. Realizing that he can’t win this fight, Dad upends the entire dinner table and stomps out of the room mumbling something about building a wall. We all go to bed hungry.

Nowadays we laugh to keep from crying, so please excuse a momentary attempt at levity. However, last Sunday’s second presidential debate was decidedly NOT a laughing matter. Over 90 of the most excruciatingly tense minutes ever aired for national broadcast, republican nominee Donald J. Trump accused Hillary Rodham Clinton of everything but being a fellow human being, even going so far as to equate her with the Antichrist (which would be mildly humorous if it wasn’t at least the third time he has done so). Off-the-cuff biblical references aside, perhaps chief among the accusations levied at his opponent during the debate were the multiple times Trump brought up allegations of rape, both those purported to be committed by her husband and, in the case of Kathy Shelton, where Hillary Clinton served as defense counsel for the man accused of raping a then-12-year-old Shelton. There is nothing funny about such allegations. Just ask Donald Trump, who as of Monday now has a pretrial date in his own case involving allegations of child rape.

However you view this tawdry turn of events, and wherever your affinities fall on the political spectrum, one thing should be abundantly clear, and that is there is a huge qualitative difference between being assigned defense counsel as a young lawyer in a case involving allegations of child rape, and being the focus of a lawsuit yourself in a case involving child rape. What Hillary Clinton did in 1975 is nothing different from what thousands of lawyers have done since time immemorial, which is rise to the defense of a person accused of a crime, a person who they may not even like on a personal level. This is what lawyers do, and aside from being an admirable pursuit that is often unfairly scorned, it is one of the essential hallmarks of our justice system and undoubtedly the envy of every person who has ever been railroaded, blackballed, or shanghaied without fair representation, from Josef K. to Nelson Mandela. In fact, it is work such as that performed by Clinton in 1975 that can be seen as the groundwork for the formation of groups such as The Innocence Project, an organization founded in 1992 and committed to the usage of burgeoning technologies such as DNA in the pursuit of overturning erroneous convictions.

All politics aside, The Shellow Group continues to work for their clients just as a young Hillary Clinton did, and understands that allegations do not automatically equal convictions.

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