Detectives Briscoe and Curtis investigate the death of a 14 year-old fashion model, Britney Janaway. She had complained to her father, a doctor, that she had abdominal pain and he took her to his office to treat her. She also had a bruise on her back and scratches on her arm. The medical examiner determines she died from toxic shock and had been raped some weeks before. The Janaways aren't very cooperative and their lawyer goes out of his way to make it difficult by placing ads and offering a hefty reward. The police look into the Janaways household staff - past and present - and the Baltimore police help out by checking out the home the Janaways kept there. Trying to arrest their main suspect is not easy however but when they do, he is in fact a witness.
Did You Know?
The police's investigation and the DA's case are jeopardized by the details of the girl's death, specifically her being raped, being leaked to the media and then published by them. This is one of the main reasons for the creation of the Rape Shield law, which makes it illegal for the media to publish the name or photo of a rape victim. It also prevents a rape victim's prior sexual history to be introduced at trial since, except in a few specific circumstances, it is irrelevant to the victim getting raped. For example if the rape victim was someone who had multiple sexual partners the defense would try and suggest that she either was at fault for getting raped (that she was "asking" for it) or that she led the perpetrator on by dressing or acting provocatively; even if a girl walks down the street naked that doesn't give anyone the right to touch her body, however some people feel that it would make the victim partly liable. This tactic often worked too since juries often forget that the law states a person has the right to say no and stop a sexual encounter at any point, even if sexual intercourse has already began and, for example, the man has already penetrated inside the girl she has the right to change her mind and stop the encounter and if the man doesn't comply and immediately withdraw out of her it's rape. So by making it extremely difficult for the defense to introduce evidence on the victim's previous sexual partners or about his/her sexual preferences the rape shield law helps ensure that juries stay on point and don't get nullified by the defense making the victim look like a slut who got what was coming to him/her. It also helped rape victims come forward and report the crime because they didn't have to be afraid of knowledge about them being raped, or the details of the crime, being released to the public and causing embarrassment for the victim and their family. See more
The media releases the name and details of the victim's death, in clear violation of two different laws. The rape shield law prevents the media for releasing the name or photo of a rape victim, even one who is deceased. The law also prevents the media from releasing the name and photo of a minor involved in a crime, whether they are a victim or a perpetrator. See more
Detective Lennie Briscoe
[to the reporters standing outside of the Janaways' home
Anybody takes one more step, you're dead in the department. No cop is ever gonna talk to you again. Now go on! Get out of here! Go find an accident or something.
References Glen or Glenda