One of the biggest stories of 2017 was the Harvey Weinstein Scandal. The story resulted in a national discussion regarding sexual abuse, especially in cases where the abuser holds power over the victim. Jeff Herman is an expert in sexual assault cases, has been following the Harvey Weinstein Scandal since its inception and he recently discussed his thoughts on the matter.
The Harvey Weinstein Scandal provides an excellent example of why sexual assault victims should understand the difference between going after those responsible for sexual assault in criminal and civil court. Jeff Herman believes that while Harvey Weinstein should be prosecuted in criminal court for his wrongdoings, it is important to understand that criminal court may not be the best venue for victims to get justice.
Jeff Herman explains that the biggest difference in civil and criminal cases is the burden of proof that is required for the jury to hold someone such as Harvey Weinstein responsible for their actions. Criminal cases require the prosecution to prove that the defendant of sexual assault is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the highest legal standard that exists, and it requires a jury to find the defendant not guilty if there is a reasonable doubt that the crime did not occur. Jeff Herman has found throughout his career that sexual assault cases boil down to “he said, she said” situations. In such cases it is easy for a jury to find a reasonable doubt and return a not guilty verdict. While this may or may not happen in the Weinstein case Jeff Herman believes that civil court presents the best opportunity for his clients to receive justice.
The evidentiary standard is civil court is far friendlier to the victims of sexual assault. In civil court a case only needs to be proven by a preponderance of the evidence as opposed to beyond a reasonable doubt. Quite simply, this means that plaintiff only needs to show a greater than 50% chance that the sexual abuse took place. In his experience Jeff Herman has found that civil juries return verdicts more often in favor of the victim as a result of this standard. View Additional Info Here.