Using the Harvey Weinstein Scandal as a framework, Jeff Herman breaks down the differences between a criminal and civil case when it comes to seeking justice for a sexual assault in the courtroom. Herman is himself a nationally recognized civil attorney representing victims of sexual assault in civil court.
His law firm, Herman Law specializes in representing women, men and children in court to help them seek justice in a civil trial.
But why a civil trial and not a criminal one? Because the victim has so much more leeway and control in a civil case. In criminal court it is not the victims v. the accused; It is the state v. the accused. The victim is no more than a witness and source of potential evidence for the state prosecutors. If said prosecutors decide to settle out-of-court or take a plea deal or even drop charges for some reason, the victim has no say in the matter. A criminal trial is the state seeing if they have grounds to punish the accused, it has nothing to do with bringing justice to the victim. Find Related Information Here.
This is not to say that a victim cannot find justice in a criminal case. Though the burden of proof is very high for sex assault crimes, if found guilty the accused can serve prison time. However, the guilty person is limited to what kind of financial payouts a criminal court can order. Things like the victims medical bills, lost wages and suffering are not considered in a criminal case.
According to Jeff Herman, in civil court it is different. The accuser is generally in charge of their case, even when an attorney is involved. The attorney has been hired to work for the victim, not the state, and this gives the accuser much more room to seek justice.
While a civil case does not result in prison time or even a criminal record for the accused, it can allow the victim some peace of mind and the payments they may be entitled to from being assaulted. The two different courts can come up with different verdicts, each allowing closure.