This is astonishing.
A trial judge in Deschutes County, Oregon recently ordered that the Google search history of a rape victim must be turned over to the man who stands accused of raping her. Yesterday, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld this travesty of justice (albeit on a technicality--so no precedent was likely created). The Deschutes County prosecutors have stated that they are unable to follow through with the judge's order. While the case is still pending, my suspicion is that the alleged rapist is going to walk, at least as far as this case is concerned (but see below).
According to The Oregonian (link above), the unnamed victim met the alleged rapist, a physician named Thomas Harry Bray, on an online dating service. They went out for drinks and then to his home, where he allegedly beat, choked, and raped her. She promptly reported the crime to the police, he was arrested two days later.
Being an anesthesiologist (i.e. wealthy), Bray was able to afford the services of Stephen Houze, one of the most successful criminal lawyers in the state.
Bray's defense was that the sex was consensual--and that because the victim apparently googled the subject of "rape" after the assault occurred, this means she can't firmly state that what transpired was a sexual assault.
The trial judge bought this nonsense hook, line, and sinker. Unfortunately, the DA failed to file a timely appeal, which was the grounds for the state Supreme Court refusing to consider it. (The Court did not make a ruling on the merits of the case).
This sounds like yet another way to try and use the "slut defense"--"your honor, she couldn't possibly have meant 'no'". Despite the fact that the victim turned up at the hospital sufficiently traumatized that the cops went out and bagged the guy, despite the fact that he's a respected physician, yadda yadda, it's being suggested that because the victim may have been unsure if what happened to her really was rape, then it wasn't really rape.
Think about that, folks. Suppose a mobster walks into a neighborhood shop and says "nice place ya got here, it'd be a shame if anything were to happen to it", then offers "protection" to the shopkeeper in exchange for a little bit of cash. Is there any doubt--whatsoever--that this would constitute extortion and/or racketeering? Even if the mobster doesn't, in this hypothetical example, physically harm the shopkeeper or his belongings or make an explicit threat of violence if no money is paid, the mobster has committed a crime. And if the shopkeeper were to go look up the RICO statutes (or other applicable laws) on the Internet, to see whether or not he should call the police, doesn't change the facts of the case one iota.
This isn't about a juror reading up about the case, in violation of the judge's orders. This is about a victim trying to discover her rights, and the suggestion that by doing so, she has effectively waived them.
The other interesting aspect. While the trial judge ordered the DA to get the records (which the victim, understandably, does not wish to provide), he has not (so far) issued a subpoena to Google to retrieve them--without either that or the victim's permission, Google is refusing to provide the records in question.
The alleged rapist also faces rape charges in another unrelated case, as well as a civil lawsuit from the victim in this one.