by Abigail Soler
On the morning of February 16, the Lang Her retrial resumed. The defense attorney opened with cross-examination of the alleged victim, and concluded at 11:30 am. The prosecution’s next witness, Dr. Patrick, was called as an expert witness.
The Lang Her case went to trial in 2014, where the jury hung. The alleged victim and defendant are former UC Davis students. The alleged rape took place at a party on July 9, 2012, while the two were under the influence of alcohol.
The alleged victim’s testimony lasted over three hours last Thursday. Today the testimony concluded after both the defense and prosecution had a chance for cross-examination and re-direct examination.
Many of the defense’s questions were either unrecalled by the witness, or prompted her to request clarification. Defense Attorney Christopher Carlos repeatedly tried to get the alleged victim to admit that the allegation is false. Each time, the witness denied his claim.
The witness repeated the word “rape,” and “I was raped,” multiple times throughout her testimony. Carlos claimed that she wanted everyone to know that she “had been raped.” Again, the witness denied that.
Much of Carlos’ questioning aimed to show inconsistency in the alleged victim’s numerous statements with different law enforcement individuals, attorneys, and her previous testimony. Carlos also appeared to allude that she liked the positive support and attention which followed her claim.
The witness used the phrase, “I do not recall,” frequently. Her justification for not remembering was due to the amount of time that has passed since the alleged rape.
The defense began asking the witness detailed questions about her understanding of the Hmong culture, in which both the defendant’s and the witness’ families are very established.
Carlos explained that Lang Her’s family was engaging in a traditional “civil compromise,” which is very common among the Hmong culture. He went further to use the civil compromise as justification for Lang Her’s parents’ attempt to change the witness’ family’s decision of pressing charges.
The witness’ behavior was resistant during cross-examination. Alternatively, during the prosecutor’s questioning, her tone was low and scared-sounding. There were multiple times throughout the testimony where the alleged victim cried, most commonly when discussing her feelings towards the defendant and the alleged rape.
The expert witness, Dr. Patrick, was called to the stand by the prosecution. The testimony opened with the deputy district attorney asking her to explain her job history and training.
She is currently a nurse practitioner, but previously worked at the B.E.A.R. (Bridging Evidence Assessment & Resources) Center. At the center, she performed more than 300 evidentiary exams on patients regarding sexual assault claims and cases. She testified that her job was to perform the S.A.F.E. (Sexual Assault Forensic Examination) exam, and to “advocate what evidence [was] found.”
The court went to morning recess 25 minutes into Dr. Patrick’s testimony.
Medical Examination Inconclusive
By Haroutun Bejanyan
On February 16, in the Lang Her trial, the prosecution called as a witness Dr. Patrick, who had conducted a physical examination of the alleged victim three and one-half years ago.
During the examination, the alleged victim reported to Dr. Patrick that, on the night of the incident, she and some friends had been drinking at the defendant’s house. At some point in the night, she became intoxicated enough for her friends to put her to bed at the house.
However, when she eventually came to and regained her senses, she found that the defendant was on top of her. Dr. Patrick testified that the alleged victim reported penetration of the vagina, but was unsure about whether there was any penetration of the anus.
Upon an external physical examination, Dr. Patrick found no injuries to the body, face, or genitals. Dr. Patrick also swabbed the victim’s breasts, mouth, rectum, and vagina for any traces of DNA indicating sexual assault.
Although nothing of significance was found externally, an internal examination of the alleged victim’s anus revealed a minor case of petechia, a small red or purple spot caused by broken capillaries. The cause of the alleged victim’s petechia could not be determined.