Friday, November 15, 2013

Commonwealth v. Lopez case brief

Commonwealth v. Lopez case brief summary
745 N.E.2d 961 (2001)

The trial court (Massachusetts) convicted defendant on two indictments charging rape and one indictment charging indecent assault and battery on a person over the age of 14 years. Defendant appealed.

A 17 year old-girl introduced defendant to her mother as a friend then agreed to let him walk her home. Defendant and the girl spoke for about half an hour at a park across the street from her foster home. Defendant suggested they walk in the woods, they did, and deep in the woods, they had sexual intercourse. The girl went home, showered, told her foster mother who dialed 911, and hysterically cried into the phone. At trial, her treating doctor described significant injuries and opined that excessive force had been applied to her private parts. The girl's account was that she had never consented and had been forced. Defendant said that she was an active willing participant. Defendant was denied a jury instruction on mistake of fact as to consent. Defendant was convicted.

  • The appellate court held that Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265, § 22 rape was a general intent crime. 
  • Proof that defendant intended sexual intercourse by force coupled with proof that the girl did not consent was sufficient for conviction. 
  • Any perception, reasonable, honest, or otherwise, of defendant as to her consent was not relevant.

The judgments were affirmed.

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