Brief Fact Summary. Three men were convicted of rape and appeal based on the judge’s refusal to instruct the jury, per defendant’s request, that the jury find beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused had actual knowledge of the victim’s lack of consent.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The issue of consent in rape cases is not to be determined based on the subjective view of the aggressor.
Whether evidence is legally relevant is a question which is generally left to the discretion of the trial judge.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Should non-consensual intercourse be defined on the basis of the subjective belief of the alleged rapist?
Held. No. Judgment affirmed.
The issue of consent in rape cases should not be determined on the basis of the subjective view of the aggressor.
In the court’s opinion, when a person says “no” to sexual intercourse the aggressor proceeds at his/her own risk.
Discussion. This case introduces the section on state of mind in the context of rape cases. Maryland takes a strict liability view on the issue of consent in rape cases. Even an honest and reasonable mistake as to consent is not a defense to rape in Maryland [Commonwealth v. Ascolillo, 405 Mass. 456 (1989)].