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State v. Smith

Citation. 554 A.2d 713 (Conn. 1989)
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Brief Fact Summary.

Smith appealed a conviction of first-degree assault under the claims that that victim’s consent to the sex could not warrant a sexual assault conviction.

Synopsis of Rule of Law.

A person need only to perform the criminal activity in order to be found guilty for sexual assault because sexual assault is a general intent crime.


Smith and T were alone in Smith’s apartment and Smith continued to make several sexual advances towards T, although they were unwanted. T stated several times that she did not want to have sex with Smith but eventually gave into Smith’s sexual advances because she feared that she would be harmed if she didn’t sleep with Smith. Smith was charged with first-degree assault and appealed.


Whether a person has to perform sexual acts with another party who is non-consenting in order to be found guilty of sexual assault?


No. Smith’s conviction is upheld because Smith wanted to perform the sexual acts. T’s consent is irrelevant because general intent crimes such as sexual assault only require Smith to desire to perform the sexual act.


Specific intent crimes have a performance requirement as well as an intent requirement, where the defendant has to desire to perform the particular act and intend the consequences of the act. General intent crimes only require the defendant to desire to perform the particular act.

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