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Ross v. Mississippi

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Brief Fact Summary.

Ross appealed a conviction of attempted rape when he allowed his victim to leave the scene of the crime rather than raping her.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A person is not guilty of attempt when they leave the scene of a crime before attempting to commit the crime.

Points of Law - Legal Principles in this Case for Law Students.

An attempt to commit a crime consists of three elements: (1) an intent to commit a particular crime; (2) a direct ineffectual act done toward its commission; and (3) the failure to consummate its commission.

View Full Point of Law

Ross went to Henley’s house and pointed a gun at her ordering Henley to remove her clothes and lay down on the coach. Henley begged Ross not to rape her because she had a young daughter coming home soon. Ross told Henley that he would not harm Henley if she walked outside the house and did not call the cops. Henley did as Ross instructed her and Ross fled the scene. Ross was convicted of attempted rape and appealed his sentence.


Whether a person is guilty of attempt when they leave the scene of a crime before attempting to commit a crime?


No. The judgment of the lower courts are reversed. Ross cannot be charged with attempted rape because he willingly abandoned his attempt to rape Henley.


A person can be convicted for attempt when they perform an overt act towards the commission of the crime, but fail to execute the crime. The person committing attempt must perform an act that displays an intent to commit the crime.

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