Monday, April 13, 2009
Blame a Victim for Her Own Murder?
Unfortunately, I didn't have the opportunity to watch the entire trial. I did, however, listen to significant portions of the interrogation that the defendant was subjected to by law enforcement. I don't know the names of the detectives, but I was greatly distressed by what I heard. Dorivert was repeatedly subjected to two detectives yelling at him that he wasn't telling the truth, badgering him and arguing with him about what he had told them. I suppose that's all par for the course, especially when you have testimony of other witnesses that contradicts what the suspect is telling you.
What really distressed me was the attacks they made on Marie. Trying to "buddy up" to him to get him to confide in them - telling him that it's understandable that sometimes people do bad things when they're upset. They repeatedly asked him questions like "What did your wife do to you to cause you to do this [murder]? . . . She must have done something pretty bad to make you do this. . . Maybe she cheated on you? . . . What about her breaking her vow to you and to God by divorcing you?. . . Did she tell you she was leaving you and taking your daughter back to Haiti?" and so on.
After listening to nearly 90 minutes of this interrogation, I could see by their body language that the jurors had had their fill of it. The badgering of the defendant made me feel sorry for him. I didn't hear all the evidence against him during my time in the courtroom. It was obviously enough to convict, because that's exactly what the jury did. He is scheduled to be sentenced next month to life in prison.
But my heart went out to Marie, first and foremost, because it seemed as though she was being somehow blamed for her own death. I wonder if the jury, hearing the detectives' repeated assaults on her character, might have struggled with the issue of whether or not she was somehow "responsible" for the assault. Sadly, this is a tactic that many defense attorneys use in domestic violence cases - blaming the victim for the decisions made by her attacker.