Due Process in the #MeToo Era

The U.S. Constitution guarantees that “no American citizen shall be deprived of life, liberty or property” without being afforded due process of the law. It is one of the bedrocks of our legal system. The 14th amendment to the Constitution guarantees to every person, including aliens, “equal protection under the law.” And, everyone is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

What has happened to those ideals?

I honestly do not want to get into the briar patch of the Brett Kavanaugh vs. Professor Christine Blasey Ford drama. But the divisive episode raises deep and troubling issues.

There is a seething anger in today’s America. Too many have developed the habit of dismissing and vilifying those who don’t think the same way. We don’t listen – I mean really listen – to each other anymore. Our “us vs. them” mentality has morphed past the mere political to include a new sort of gender war. It’s now become popular to hold men up to scorn and suspicion. And then there’s the idea that if a woman makes a claim of sexual harassment or assault she must be believed, no questions asked. She must automatically be referred to as a “victim” and “survivor.”

But if everyone is supposed to be treated equally under the law shouldn’t we be open to the possibility that sometimes an accusing woman (or man) might be exaggerating?  S/he might be covering up their own misbehavior by deflecting attention to the other party. Or s/he might be spitefully lying. (One case in point: the false gang rape allegation made against members of the Duke University lacrosse team)

If every single claim made must automatically be held as holy wit then, really, the veracity of all claims becomes questionable.

I have spent a career reporting on the physical/emotional/sexual abuse of victims. I am overly sympathetic to women and children who have endured domestic, stranger or pedophilic violence. As I have written here #MeToo applies to me too. I have personally experienced the shock of being pushed and held against a wall and violently invaded by men who thought I “wanted it.” I completely understand why a woman might not immediately come forward with a complaint. I didn’t.

Back then if I had gone to the police and made an official statement the matter likely would have gone to court because if I’d had the courage to come forward I darn well would have made sure to take it all the way to trial. I would have told my story under oath and the man would have been given a chance to do the same. Then the judge, or maybe a jury, would have decided who was right and who was wrong. That is due process. It might be a slow course of action but it is the fair way to do things.

Justice Isn’t Always Swift

Due process is what delivered justice to the dozens of victims of Bill Cosby. After his first trial ended in a hung jury the justice system plodded along and held a second trial. Cosby, 81, was then found guilty, labeled a “sexually violent predator” and sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison.

Presumably, this procedure will soon take place in another headlined sexual assault case, the one which awaits disgraced movie maker Harvey Weinstein.

It may not be a fast-enough process for some, but I refuse to believe returning to Salem witch hunt era tactics is acceptable. It is simply not the American way to declare a suspect guilty or brand them a liar from the get-go. It is not acceptable to allow agitators to scream for immediate justice.

Senator Jeff Flake

It is not helpful when shrieking members of a group that opposed any and all Trump nominations to the U.S. Supreme Court corner decision makers like Senator Jeff Flake in a Capitol Hill elevator.

“I was sexually assaulted, and nobody believed me!” one of the confrontational activists screamed as a CNN camera rolled. “I didn’t tell anyone, and you’re telling all women that they don’t matter!”

(Wait a minute. She either told about her assault and no one believed her, or she didn’t tell anyone – both cannot be true. But I digress.)

Senator Flake’s offense? Participation in a respectful fact-finding mission regarding what to do in the Kavanaugh/Ford matter. At the hearing, Flake’s face revealed his anguish with the task. Out in the hall, what did that temper tantrum accomplish besides giving the finger pointing activists 15 minutes of fame? Nothing, I say.

We now live in an enlightened world where age-old acts of sexual victimization have been exposed, perpetrator’s revealed for all to see. I’m hoping women everywhere understand that they no longer have to endure sexual harassment and assaults. Saying “No” is the new norm.

The path to justice has now been paved. Let’s not sabotage it with screeching displays in hallways. Let’s restore and demand dignity and due process fairness for everyone – female and male.




  1. Diane Dimond on October 8, 2018 at 1:14 pm

    Reader Sharon Harrington writes:

    Thank you for logically addressing the issues.

    Sharon Harrington

  2. Diane Dimond on October 8, 2018 at 1:15 pm

    Reader Madonna Salcedo writes:

    Lots of empathy there Dianne. Real emotion can be inconvenient.

  3. Diane Dimond on October 8, 2018 at 1:20 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Michael Melendez writes:

    Hello Diane,
    Your article #MeToo era and the right to due process misses a major fact of life for rape, assault & battery on women, children and men. You can go to any Metropolitan area Police Department in the U.S. and the world for that matter. There you will discover a multitude of Rape cases never investigated. This speaks to the many perpetrators still on the loose in their communities. These perps know the Police Departments will do nothing for their victims especially if the victims have no political clout in their community. Rape Victims become victims of the do nothing Police Departments. You should know this by now to avoid coming across to me as an ignoramus. Then again, this world is filled ignoramuses. There’s a sucker born every second.

    Michael Melendez

    • Diane Dimond on October 8, 2018 at 1:22 pm

      DD replies:

      I respectfully disagree with you, Mr. Melendez. But I won’t stoop to calling you names (like “ignoramus”)

      Police officers and detectives in departments across this country take charges of rape and battery on women, children and men very seriously. If you doubt it – look at the number of deaths and injuries to officers who respond to domestic abuse cases. If you doubt that check google or click this link: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2018/04/09/domestic-abusers-dangerous-women-and-lethal-cops/479241002/

      Bottom line: “In 2017, more officers were shot responding to domestic violence than any other type of firearm-related fatality, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. From 1988 to 2016, 136 officers were killed while responding to domestic disturbances such as family arguments, FBI data show. By comparison, 80 were killed during a drug-related arrest in the same period.”

      Cops care – and some of them pay with their lives.


      • Diane Dimond on October 8, 2018 at 2:43 pm

        Mr. Melendez replies:

        Thank you for your response Diane Dimond,

        I worked as a law enforcement officer for state and federal correctional prisons for 13 years. I worked in municipal and county public housing programs. I served 9 years in the U.S. Military both here and abroad. I am fully aware of the violence within domestic residences, prisons and international conflicts.
        I have reported assault and battery cases on behalf of myself and others.
        I have seen how these reports and cases have the effect of desensitizing officers of the law to the extent that it is business as usual, all while the frequency of increasing interval is evident.
        With the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh as Supreme Court Justice and his alleged acts of misconduct as a youthful beer drinking delinquent the message is loud and clear. Intoxicated delinquent violence on others is quite acceptable.

        • Diane Dimond on October 8, 2018 at 2:47 pm

          DD replies:

          Again, we will disagree. I don’t know of anyone who thinks it is “acceptable” for young people to commit intoxicated violence.

          As for Mr. Kavanaugh – don’t forget the part that took place after his high school drinking….the part where he worked hard at his studies, graduated from a prestigious university, went to law school, worked in the White House and served as a well respected federal judge for a dozen years.

          On the scales of human judgement doesn’t the latter count for something? Maybe a signal that a fun loving, hard drinking kid grew up to be a respectful son, man, husband, father and coach?

  4. Diane Dimond on October 8, 2018 at 1:24 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Marie Coyle:

    Dear Diane,

    Your article was right on. It should be on Fox News and all the other TV new channels. Thank you, your articles are always truthful and knowledgeable.

    Marie Coyle

  5. Diane Dimond on October 8, 2018 at 2:40 pm

    ABQ Journal Reader Tim Taylor writes:

    Re: Kavanaugh & your column today. Just one point.

    Kavanaugh was not in court. He was interviewing for a job. Have you ever interviewed for a job for which you were qualified, but didn’t get it? Perhaps for any of a thousand reasons?

    And this guy is the perfect candidate? Set aside the Ford accusation. On other matters he lied. Is that ok?
    The Federalist Society also recommended a conservative woman. Very conservative I hear. Wouldn’t that have been a better way to go?

    Your old friend and fan.
    Tim N. Taylor

    • Diane Dimond on October 8, 2018 at 2:41 pm

      DD replies:


      I disagree that it was a job interview. At the point where Mr. Kavanaugh was testifying AFTER Professor Ford the session ceased to be a job interview and morphed more into a platform for him to defend his reputation, character and integrity. That he became tearful and angry comes as no surprise to me. Wrongly accused people often act that way.

      Say someone declared that you were a pedophile because they saw you with a small child in a play ground and “it didn’t seem right.” Are we to automatically condemn you as someone who molests children? That’s not DUE PROCESS, now is it?

      As for your assertion that “he lied” – well, that goes directly to the point of this column. How do you come to the conclusion that Brett Kavanaugh lied? Because Professor Ford should automatically be believed over him? Or because someone was quoted in a newspaper somewhere saying as a teen/young college student they saw Brett Kavanaugh drunk? That is not due process, Tim. There were plenty of other people quoted in newspapers saying that Brett drank but not to any excess. They said he was a diligent and focused student that worked hard and made it to the Ivy League and then to a federal judgeship.

      I’m suspecting that you may be cherry picking which comments to believe instead of affording all participants DUE PROCESS.

      Nonetheless, I’m posting your comment on my website since I believe everyone has the right to express their own opinion.

  6. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    Facebook Friend Irene Smith writes:

    Thank you for perspective…..it was like completely lost in the dialogue last week.

  7. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:35 pm

    Facebook Friend Bill Lord writes:

    It’s a shame we grew up being taught not to discuss politics. Now that social media has given everyone with an opinion a soapbox to shout from, it would have been much more valuable to have learned *how* to discuss politics. Thank you, Diane Dimond, for this first step in introducing the type of dialogue all Americans should exhibit.

  8. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Facebook Friend Kimberly Ludtke writes:

    Thank you for article Diane. Well-said!

  9. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Facebook Friend Joe Crummey writes:

    DD- great to get your perspective on this

  10. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:36 pm

    Facebook Friend Jeannette Albarran writes:

    This is awesome, Diane!

  11. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Facebook Friend Linda Ellis writes:

    Great article Diane—you are a clear voice of reason! Don’t ever quit

  12. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Facebook Friend Michael De Lazzer writes:

    Great article. You know how I feel about you, and you know how I feel about evidence and justice.

    That said, the president made a mistake stating Kavanaugh was “proven innocent.”

  13. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:37 pm

    Facebook Friend Tom Cobin writes:

    With all due respect, you’re distorting the situation. “Innocent until proven guilty” is a criminal standard; this was not a criminal trial. If it were — or even if the Administration and ruling Congressional Party were remotely interested in the truth — the investigation would have been conducted without restrictions by nakedly partisan office-holders beholden to their financiers. It presumes a “jury of peers” with no stake in the outcome — not partisans committed to rushing this through. It is outrageous, blatant misinformation and legally fallacious — really, partisan propaganda — for the President just now to say Kavanaugh was “proven innocent” by this reprehensible whitewash.

  14. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Facebook Friend Steve Robel writes:

    Diane, excellent article and right on point!! Being in law enforcement for 33 years handling a variety of cases involving sexual assault’s, homicides and high profile cases, this case was handled wrong from the beginning. Thanks to our wonderful elected officials, mainly the Dem’s, several lives have been ruined and put in jeopardy.

  15. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Facebook Friend Dutch Cutuli writes:

    I agree Diane. You always seemed smart. Everyone nowadays forgets that you need to prove it at least a little bit.

  16. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:38 pm

    Facebook Friend Janet Palazzotto writes:

    Thank you, Diane for sharing your insight. No one can argue these very important words.

  17. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    Facebook Friend Susan Silver writes:

    Susan Silver unf the FBI was not allowed to do the inquest which would have given us proof either way

  18. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    Facebook Friend George Barwood writes:

    Part of due process is a complete and unbiased investigation. It is unsatisfactory for friends and allies of an accused person to be given complete control over an investigation. That points towards a problem with the US constitution. Of course the free press is a part of that constitution, but there also needs to be an independent investigative arm of government. The confirmation process was flawed because the investigation was directed and controlled by those who proposed Kavanaugh. The same can apply to an impeachment situation.

  19. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:41 pm

    Facebook Friend Dawn Bodenner writes:

    Well stated

  20. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Facebook Friend Tom Cobin writes:


  21. Diane Dimond on October 12, 2018 at 6:42 pm

    Facebook Friend Daniel Simone writes:

    The Innocent Until Proven Guilty tenet was and still is figuratively and not realistic. Why is a non-violent offender placed in handcuffs when he or she is arrested? Why is an accused held in custody until bail is posted? Why an accused may or may not be granted bail? If one is presumed innocent until proven guilty, why should he or she be required to post bail in the first place? In my opinion, the Innocent Until Proven Guilty principle isn’t quite so cut and dry. As of late, however, the masses automatically convict a man who has been accused of a sex crime based merely on the victim’s allegations, and this is where matters are spiraling out of control.

  22. Diane Dimond on October 25, 2018 at 1:53 pm

    LINKEDIn Connection Scott Riddle Retired at U.S. Army writes:

    I’m afraid to leave the house because of the #metoo movement! It seems like an opportunity for disaster! I stopped talking to anyone female and I refuse to hold the door for any female anymore! This goes against my upbringing but the world has gone crazy and their are opportunistic females just waiting to seize the opportunity. I will no longer allow myself to be in any room alone with a female for any reason! If I am on an isle in a grocery store alone with a female I will exit ! I am on the defensive at all cost but look at what’s going on ! Judge Kavanaugh was framed and I won’t let it happen to me!

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