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Judicial Language Project

Problematic Language


    1st Circuit & District Courts

  • Title: Castillo v. Government of V.I., 2006 WL 2993017 (D.Virgin Islands)
    Case Decided: September 25, 2006
    Nature of the Case: Repeated sexual assault of a 12 year old mentally handicapped female child by her adult male caretaker.
    Problematic Language: The problematic language includes the phrases "appellant was having sex, and engaging in sexual contact, with her," "insertion of a finger into her vagina," "the insertion of the penis," "fondling," "requiring her to fondle," and "engaged in sexual intercourse."

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    2nd Circuit & District Courts

  • Title: Hogan v. West, 448 F.Supp.2d 496 (W.D. New York)
    Case Decided: September 21, 2006
    Nature of the Case: John Hogan, an adult, repeatedly sexually assaulted his sister-in-law, K.F., who was 11 and 12 years old at the time of the assaults.
    Problematic Language: The court uses the words "kiss," "acceded," and "intercourse" and the phrases "engaged in sexual activities" and "performed oral sex" to recount acts of criminal abuse perpetrated by the defendant against the victim.

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    Alaska

  • Title: Davis v. State
    Case Decided: November 11, 2009
    Nature of the Case: Child sexual abuse.
    Problematic Language: "engaging in sexual contact"; "inside her panties"; "touching her private part".

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    California

  • Title: State of California v. Scott, 2004 Cal. App. Unpub. LEXIS 9558 (Cal. App. 6 Dist.)
    Case Decided: October 20, 2004
    Nature of the Case: Child Sexual Abuse
    Problematic Language: Use of the word "climax" sexualizes and eroticizes the abuse of a child

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  • Title: People v. Romero
    Case Decided: July 1, 2005
    Nature of the Case: Child Sexual Abuse
    Problematic Language: “having intercourse”, “panties”, “she entered and closed the door at his request”, “he guided her”, “fondling”, “helped her get undressed”

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  • Title: People v. Smith 2009 WL 4643147 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.,2009)
    Case Decided: July 1, 2005
    Nature of the Case: Child molestation and rape by caretaker
    Problematic Language: "sexual intercourse" and "oral copulation"

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  • Title: People v. Crisante
    Case Decided: July 1, 2005
    Nature of the Case: Sexual misconduct with a minor
    Problematic Language: "[Defendant] kissed [victim]", "fondling", "[Defendant] was touching the [victim]", "[Defendant] touched [8-year-old victim's] breasts"

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  • Title: People v. Hubbs, 2005 WL 2503872 (Cal.App. 4 Dist.)
    Case Decided: October 11, 2005
    Nature of the Case: Child Sexual Abuse; 33-year old male offender and five victims, all boys under the age of 13
    Problematic Language: The phrase "engaging in oral copulation" and the term "molestation"

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  • Title: People v. Mario Rolando V., 2006 WL 2831043 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.)
    Case Decided: October 5, 2006
    Nature of the Case: This case involved sexual abuse of a child
    Problematic Language: "He kissed her neck and breast"

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  • Title: People v. Curtis, 2006 WL 3077067 (Cal.App. 3 Dist.)
    Case Decided: October 31, 2006
    Nature of the Case: At trial, the defendant was classified as a sexually violent predator based on the evaluation of two psychiatrists and his past conviction for sexually violent offenses. The defendant appealed the classification and his commitment was affirmed.
    Problematic Language: "...defendant touched him first through his clothes, then inside his clothes, then touched his penis with a stroking motion." "...orally copulated him." "...accompany him." "...accompany him to hotel bathroom, where he pulled down the boy's trousers and underwear, orally copulated him."

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  • Title: People v. Lambert, 2007 WL 404180 (Cal.App. 2 Dist.)
    Case Decided: February 7, 2007
    Nature of the Case: Johnnie Harold Lambert was convicted of two counts of child molestation. The defendant appealed his conviction and the Appellate court affirmed.
    Problematic Language: "The Kissing Incident" "He leaned over her, tried to kiss her, and tried to put his tongue in her mouth" "The Tickling Incident" "He tickled J.D. on her vagina, on top of her pajamas, three or four times."

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  • Title: People v. Miramontes (Cal.App. 2 Dist.)
    Case Decided: October 24, 2007
    Nature of the Case: This case is about the sexual abuse of a child.
    Problematic Language: "Appellant touched the victim's leg instead of her private parts."

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  • Title: People v Thompson, 2009 WL 3086499
    Case Decided: September 29, 2009
    Nature of the Case: Required registration of sex offenders
    Problematic Language: “A mutually voluntary act of sodomy with a 17 year old minor”

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    Florida

  • Title: McGee v. State, Erotic Language
    Case Decided: July 1, 2005
    Nature of the Case: Rape and Sexual Assault
    Problematic Language: "she encountered McGee who began kissing and hugging her…he pulled her to him. He pulled up her nightgown and began performing oral sex on her. The he pulled her against him…and attempted anal sex. He then pushed her down and engaged in vaginal sex with her.” “McGee began rubbing her and told her to lie down. He then began performing oral sex and ended engaging in vaginal sex.”

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    Georgia

  • Title: Schneider v. State of Georgia, 267 Ga. App. 508
    Case Decided: May 20, 2004
    Nature of the Case: Child Sexual Abuse
    Problematic Language: "Schneider performed oral sex on G.M." "Schneider fondled and performed oral sex on a 14-year old" "G.M. awoke to find Schneider massaging G.M's penis"

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  • Title: Howard v. State, 281 Ga.App. 797
    Case Decided: October 5, 2006
    Nature of the Case: This case involves a 24 year-old brother who sexually assaulted his 15 year-old sister.
    Problematic Language: The problematic language includes the phrases "perform oral sex on him," "allow him to perform oral sex on her"; "to engage in sexual intercourse with him" and "private part".

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  • Title: Lynn v. State
    Case Decided: September 22, 2009
    Nature of the Case: Aggravated child sexual abuse
    Problematic Language: The court described the defendant as "placing mouth on genitals" of the victim. The court does not further describe the details of the incident.

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  • Title: Corbitt v. State, 2009 WL 3720586
    Case Decided: November 9, 2009
    Nature of the Case: Incest, rape, and child molestation
    Problematic Language: intercourse, kissed breast

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  • Title: Williams v. State, 2009 WL 3720590
    Case Decided: November 9, 2009
    Nature of the Case: Robbery, aggravated assault, attempted sodomy
    Problematic Language: The court described the perpetrator as attempting to "engage in sex" and forced the victim to "fondle him" and "attempted to engage in intercourse" with the victim. The court also discusses that the facts could be "a precursor to vaginal intercourse."

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    Idaho

  • Title: State v. Doe, 143 Idaho 383
    Case Decided: September 29, 2006
    Nature of the Case: Termination of parental rights after father is found to have "sexually molested" his adoptive daughter and "groped" his wife's younger sister.
    Problematic Language: "sexually molested" and "groped"

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    Illinois

  • Title: People v. Holmes, NFL Football Player and Prior Rape Allegations
    Case Decided: July 1, 2005
    Nature of the Case: Rape and Sexual Assault
    Problematic Language: The opinion repeatedly makes reference to the fact that the victim made allegations of rape "against a Cleveland Browns NFL football player", "an NFL player" and that the victim is "receiving child support payments from that individual.”

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    Indiana

  • Title: Williams v. State, 2007 WL 602514 (Ind.App.)
    Case Decided: February 28, 2007
    Nature of the Case: The defendant was convicted of child molesting as a Class B felony and sexual misconduct with a minor as a Class C felony. He appealed and the court affirmed his conviction.
    Problematic Language: "Williams told her to come into his room, pulled out his penis, and told her to suck on it. N.B. complied."

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  • Title: Terry v. State
    Case Decided: November 13, 2008
    Nature of the Case: child sexual abuse
    Problematic Language: “engaged in sexual intercourse”

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    Kentucky

  • Title: Driver v. Com, 2007 WL 491602 (Ky.App.)
    Case Decided: February 16, 2007
    Nature of the Case: Defendant was charged with one count of first degree sodomy and two counts of first degree sexual abuse.
    Problematic Language: "fondling and receiving oral sex from his six year old foster child"

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    Maine

  • Title: State v. Tucker
    Case Decided: April 14, 2009
    Nature of the Case: rape
    Problematic Language: “sexually assaulted her" “victim’s prior dating behavior”

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    Massachusetts

  • Title: Commonwealth v. Pelosi, 441 Mass. 257
    Case Decided: March 19, 2004
    Nature of the Case: Child Sexual Abuse
    Problematic Language: Implication that victims of sexual assault are not credible.

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  • Title: Commonwealth v. Armstrong
    Case Decided: December 3, 2008
    Nature of the Case: child rape
    Problematic Language: he put his fingers inside her “private"; “oral sex”

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    Michigan

  • Title: People v. Hedeen, 477 Mich. 898
    Case Decided: October 27, 2006
    Nature of the Case: This case involved a 32 year old whom assaulted a 15 year old child.
    Problematic Language: "engaging in sexual relations," and "engage in unprotected sexual activities with her"

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    Minnesota

  • Title: In re Civil Commitment of Kirckof, 2006 WL 3007995 (Minn.App.)
    Case Decided: October 24, 2006
    Nature of the Case: Child Sexual Abuse.
    Problematic Language: "...approached a 13-year-old girl at a shopping center and touched her buttocks and squeezed the inside of her thigh twice" "...grabbing his ex-wife's 12-year-old niece from behind, wrapping his arms around her, and then sliding his right hand across her left breast over her clothing."

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    Mississipppi

  • Title: Allen v. State, 960 So.2d 489 (Miss. App. 2006)
    Case Decided: October 3, 2006
    Nature of the Case: Defendant was convicted of sexual battery of his step-daughter and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
    Problematic Language: Use of the phrase "performing oral sex"

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  • Title: Plummer v. State, 966 So.2d 186 (Miss.App.)
    Case Decided: July 31, 2007
    Nature of the Case: Plummer was indicted by a Clarke County grand jury for feloniously raping a female child under the age of fourteen, which resulted in pregnancy and the birth of a child.
    Problematic Language: "engaging in sexual intercourse with a female child"

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    Montana

  • Title: State of Montana v. Grindheim, 2004 MT 311; 2004 Mont. LEXIS 565
    Case Decided: January 1, 2004
    Nature of the Case: Child Sexual abuse
    Problematic Language: The child "performs" oral sex on the adult defendant

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    New Hampshire

  • Title: State v. Goupil, 154 N.H. 208
    Case Decided: September 28, 2006
    Nature of the Case: The defendant was convicted of five counts of aggravated felonious sexual assault and one count of theft by unauthorized taking.
    Problematic Language: "Fondled her vagina," "she complied with his order to lie down," and the victim was "sexually assaulted".

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    New York

  • Title: People v. Aller, 821 N.Y.S.2d 657
    Case Decided: October 3, 2006
    Nature of the Case: Appellant was convicted of rape in the first degree, sodomy in the first degree (two counts), sexual abuse in the first degree (four counts), robbery in the third degree, and unlawful imprisonment in the first degree.
    Problematic Language: "introduce the victim's panties into evidence"

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    Ohio

  • Title: State of Ohio v. Laboy, 2006 WL 134827 (Ohio App. 8 Dist.)
    Case Decided: January 1, 2006
    Nature of the Case: Child rape and incest
    Problematic Language: "kissing her neck and lips," "kissed the victim's neck and down her stomach," "suck his penis," "tried to have anal intercourse with the victim" and "performed oral sex [on the victim]"

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  • Title: State v. Abdullah, 2006 WL 2949016 (Ohio App. 10 Dist.)
    Case Decided: October 17, 2006
    Nature of the Case: The Defendant was convicted on ten criminal counts including sexual assault, rape and kidnapping of the victim. The Defendant appealed and the Appellate court affirmed in part and reversed in part.
    Problematic Language: "to engage in sexual activity" "engaging in vaginal intercourse" "engaged in genital-to-genital contact"

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  • Title: State of Ohio v. Djuric, 2007 WL 274373 (Ohio App. 8 Dist.)
    Case Decided: February 1, 2007
    Nature of the Case: Child sex abuse
    Problematic Language: "..Djuric touched the victim's breasts and digitally penetrated" "..learned that Djuric had fondled the victim's breasts twice, touched her vaginal area twice, and digitally penetrated her twice."

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  • Title: State v. Ison, 2008 WL 588758 (Ohio App. 5 Dist.)
    Case Decided: March 4, 2008
    Nature of the Case: Child Sexual Abuse
    Problematic Language: PROBLEMATIC LANGUAGE: "appellant asking the victim to sit on his face while she was nude." APPROPRIATE LANGUAGE: "penetrated her vagina with his penis," and "rubbing her vaginal area all over his body, including his penis."

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  • Title: State v. Hernton
    Case Decided: March 31, 2009
    Nature of the Case: burglary
    Problematic Language: The court referred to the “romantic relationship between Mr. Hernton and Ms. Gardner" as "facilitat[ing] – caus[ing] – the conduct” - and that the defendant “acted under provocation”. The court also noted that "it is unlikely he will again be in such a relationship as he was with Ms. Gardner”

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    Tennessee

  • Title: Curry v. Carlton, 2011 WL 4600621
    Case Decided: October 6, 2011
    Nature of the Case: Rape; petitioner was convicted of three counts of aggravated rape and was sentenced as a violent offender.
    Problematic Language: The problematic language in this case includes irrelevant information that the petitioner physically forced the victim, “his ex-girlfriend, from a nightclub” and that, “after taking her to an Economy Inn, he raped her.”

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    Texas

  • Title: Barahona v. State of Texas, 2004 Tex. App. LEXIS 9441
    Case Decided: January 1, 2004
    Nature of the Case: Child Sexual Abuse
    Problematic Language: Use of the phrase "performs oral sex."

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  • Title: Cruz v. State, 2006 WL 2987555 (Tex.App.-El Paso)
    Case Decided: October 19, 2006
    Nature of the Case: Sexual assault on a minor.
    Problematic Language: "fondling," "engages in sexual contact with the child" "had put his hands in her panties," "touched her vaginal and anal area," "engaged in sexual contact by touching genitals with his hands"

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  • Title: In re Commitment of Goodwin, 2006 WL 3027124 (Tex. App., 2006)
    Case Decided: October 26, 2006
    Nature of the Case: Defendant appealed from a trial court's decision defining him as a Sexually Violent Predator based on the Texas Statute
    Problematic Language: "having anal sex with one fourteen-year-old boy and oral sex with another"

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  • Title: Castleschouldt v. State
    Case Decided: April 9, 2009
    Nature of the Case: child sexual abuse and child pornography
    Problematic Language: “…defendant paid the victim, a child younger than 18 (she was 13 years old), to allow him to photograph her; that he dressed her in lingerie and lace panties; that he took photographs of her that focused on her bare breast and close up pictures of her genitalia; and that defendant told a detective that he kept the photographs for his own ‘use’.” “…photographs depict A.A. in short dresses, lingerie, panties, and high-heel shoes, posing on appellant’s desk and bed.” “…photograph of A.A. lying on a bed in the master bedroom wearing satin lingerie and…exposing one breast.” “…photograph of A.A. in a red negligee and…sitting in the master bedroom, and ‘exposing her genitalia with no underwear.’”

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  • Title: Parchman v. State
    Case Decided: April 15, 2009
    Nature of the Case: Child Sexual Abuse
    Problematic Language: “M.J.[…] slipped out of her father’s house to spend the night at Appellant[‘s] […] apartment”, “the group smoked marijuana”, “M.J. went to bed high from the marijuana”, “having sex with”, “she was so high on marijuana when it allegedly happened”

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    Washington

  • Title: State v. Ray, 135 Wash.App. 1009, (Wash.App. Div. 2)
    Case Decided: January 1, 2006
    Nature of the Case: George Ray was convicted of second and third degree rape.
    Problematic Language: "Ray pulled off her clothes, held her hands above her head, and started "fingering" her"

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  • Title: State v. Berakech, 2007 WL 241795 (Wash. App. Div. 3)
    Case Decided: January 30, 2007
    Nature of the Case: Defendant, the step-father of the female victim, was convicted of two counts of first degree rape and one count of first degree child molestation of a child at ages six, seven, and nine years old.
    Problematic Language: The phrases "kissing and fondling [victim]'s breasts and sexual organs," "engaged in anal and vaginal intercourse with her," and "sexual intercourse."

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    Wisconsin

  • Title: State v Gabelbauer 2009 Wisc. App LEXIS 1018
    Case Decided: December 30, 2009
    Nature of the Case: Child Sexual Abuse
    Problematic Language: “breast” “undeveloped top”

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  • Title: State v. Echols
    Case Decided: September 27, 2011
    Nature of the Case: Sexual assault, attempted murder.
    Problematic Language: The girlfriend "had not been home because she was at a club". The victims were “forced to perform sexual acts".

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    Wyoming

  • Title: Ruby v. State,114 P.3d 425, 2006 WL 2974261 (Wyo. 2006)
    Case Decided: October 19, 2006
    Nature of the Case: The defendant videotaped himself perpetrating several types of sex crimes against children.
    Problematic Language: "Engaging in sexual activities," "taking indecent liberties with a minor," "his act of rubbing her breasts," "forced one child to perform fellatio while the other child watched"

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