It is tough to convict people given all of the procedural safeguards that we have in place because we value fairness. In the old days, the remedy for this was to torture people until they confessed. Today we make the punishment after conviction 10X worse than it was previously, but offer the option to confess via a plea bargain and receive instead the former maximum sentence. This theme is explored in the classic University of Chicago Law Review article “Torture and Plea Bargaining” (Langbein).
I’m wondering if the sexual assault courts that the Obama Administration forced universities to create have discovered the same idea. “Lawyer: Yovino will claim at trial she was raped by SHU football players” (CT Post):
State prosecutors Tatiana Messina and Emily Trudeau contend Nikki Yovino, now 20, falsely claimed in 2016 that she was raped after having consensual sex in a bathroom with the two men, because she didn’t want to lose another young man as a prospective boyfriend.
Bridgeport lawyer Frank Riccio II, who represents the two men, said that as a result of Yovino’s rape allegations, his clients were scheduled for a school disciplinary hearing but on the advice of legal council agreed instead to withdraw from the university rather than face being expelled and having that on their records.
If three college kids are in the bathroom with the door closed it will be tough for anyone who wasn’t there to establish exactly what happened (and perhaps all three were drunk so even they don’t remember?). Thus, it makes sense to threaten sufficiently severe punishment that the accused will simply take the desired action in exchange for not suffering the maximum punishment.