Friday, September 14, 2012

People v. Olsen case brief

People v. Olsen: Shawn M. was 13. Her parents had guests so she slept in a trailer in front of the house. Shawn was awakened by Garcia who had a knife. He told her to “make love” to D or he would stab her. Shawn testified that she considered Garcia her boyfriend at the time and that she told them she was over 16 years old.
    1. The California statute has at least two kinds of statutory rape:
      1. (1) For minors between the age of 14-18
        1. Precedent People v. Hernandez said reasonable mistake of fact is a defense to the 14-18 statutory rape. Already a big departure from Prince, which has no defense for mistake of fact.
      2. (2) For minors under 14.
        1. The court says that people < 14 need special protection. Under the statute, the majority argues that the CA legislature took this crime very seriously awarding a punishment of MAX 8 YEARS. Where as for 14-18 it’s like a year.
        2. The dissent says it cuts the other way: the crime is so serious that punishing someone who really didn’t know seems wrong - might even be cruel and unusual.
    2. Compare to Felony Murder Rule: Once you go to rob a bank, it’s your problem if your robbing buddies are trigger-happy. Once you go to rape a girl, it’s on you if she’s younger than you thought – is this the same?
    3. Model Penal Code Statutory Rape Age Distinction: The critical age is 10 for them, it’s drawing a different age but the solution looks like the Olsen court’s.
      1. Maybe when it gets to a certain point we worry less about the criminal and more about the victim. Looking at the critical age, this doesn’t seem like cruel and usual punishment.
    4. Most states have kept the Prince formulation that at no age is there really a mistake of fact defense.

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