Ohio Judge Orders Destruction of Evidence after Rape Trial

In Delaware County, Ohio, just north of Columbus, things have wrapped up in the murder trial of Ali Salim. He was convicted of murdering Deanna Ballman and her unborn child. I won’t get into the case itself, Huffington Post has a good summary of the case and trial. Salim was convicted and sentenced to more than 36 years in prison. He is currently appealing the sentence.

More to the point, and to the headline for that matter. Judge Duncan Whitney approved prosecutors requests to destroy the evidence in the trial after all appeals and related civil cases have concluded.  Ohio law allows for this,  with the exception of biological (DNA) evidence in rape and murder cases, and evidence surrounding unsolved murder cases.  Generally, the local courts make the rules for handling all other evidence.

According to the Newark Advocate, the reason the prosecution, represented by Assistant Delaware County Prosecutor Kyle Rohrer, gave for the motion was:

“The dominant appeal of all the material is to the prurient interest,” Rohrer said. “It displays nudity in a way that tends to represent human beings as mere objects of sexual appetite. Some of the material further displays extreme and bizarre violence and cruelty.”

The material also violates Ohio voyeurism law, Rohrer said. That statute prohibits individuals from spying on people or recording them “for the purpose of sexually arousing or gratifying the person’s self.”

The defense said that the evidence didn’t help their side, so they are okay with the destruction as well. It’s just odd and doesn’t sit right with me. I want to say that I understand, that the chance it could get leaked would bring undue suffering and shame to the family of the victim. On the other hand, in the interests of justice and future understanding and knowledge, I want us to keep it. Images and information that are lewd are just as valid in understanding as those of cute sheep:

Awwww it’s a lamb!

It’s almost as if the courts are willingly letting this evidence go so as to make it not come back. That the sensibilities of the court are more important than the evidence they collect in the process of a trial. The evidence may seem worthless at present, but that is a meaningless argument. Salim most likely has something wrong with him, mentally speaking: he threw a pregnant woman, as a doctor, out of his car, and left her there die. Keeping this evidence could help us further understand this psychopathy.

Trust me, I’m not saying I want to be the one to look at it, but I also wouldn’t want to be the one to say that no one else should either.

Featured Image by Brian Turner used under Creative Commons License 2.0

Sheep image from Sarah Afshar used under Creative Commons License 2.0

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