Brief Fact Summary. The Defendant, Edward Salvatore Rusk (Defendant) was convicted of second-degree rape. He took the victim’s car keys and escorted her to his apartment where they engaged in sexual intercourse.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. The evidence required to support a rape conviction must warrant a conclusion either that the victim resisted and was overcome by force or the victim was prevented from resisting by threats to her safety.
A rape victim is not required to do more than her age, strength, surrounding facts and all attending circumstances make it reasonable for her to do in order to manifest her opposition.View Full Point of Law
Issue. Was the amount of force used by the Defendant sufficient to support of conviction of rape?
Held. No. The evidence required to support a rape conviction must warrant a conclusion either that the victim resisted and was overcome by force or the victim was prevented from resisting by threats to her safety. There was no testimony indicating the victim actively resisted the Defendant, nor was there evidence of fear that would overcome the victim’s attempt to resist or escape.
Dissent. The judge and the jury, as those in the best position to observe witnesses and hear testimony, are in the best position to determine the sufficiency of the evidence. Here, the majority improperly substituted their judgment for the jury.
Discussion. The force required for a rape conviction must either be actual or constructive. In the latter case, the victim must be so overcome by fear precipitated by threats to her safety she cannot resist.