Brief Fact Summary. Sherry’s (D) argument when he was charged with rape was that he had believed the victim consented to sex.
Synopsis of Rule of Law. A subjective belief is no defense to a rape charge on the ground that the victim consented.
When a criminal statute calls for construction it is not the construction that is supported by the greater reason that is to prevail, but that one which, if reasonable, operates in favor of life and liberty.View Full Point of Law
Held. (Liacos, J.) No. A subjective belief is no defense to a rape charge on the ground that the victim consented. The prosecution would have a serious burden of proof if the subjective mindset of an alleged perpetrator was crucial in passing upon consent, but this has never been so. But it is proper for the whole sequence of events from an objective perspective to be considered by the jury. In this case, an objective standard was created by the instruction the court gave and this was proper. If the belief is unreasonable, the defense of mistake of fact is not possible.
Discussion. among the jurisdiction, there is no uniform rule on this issue. Though a fully subjective approach is found on few, if, any jurisdictions. Those that do require the good-faith belief have to be reasonable although a good-faith-belief-in-consent is permitted by some.