Friday, November 15, 2013

State v. Smith case brief

State v. Smith case brief summary
554 A.2d 713 (1989)

Defendant sought review of a judgment from the Superior Court in the judicial district of New Haven (Connecticut), which convicted him of sexual assault in the first degree.

Defendant invited a woman back to his apartment and made advances on her. Though the woman repeatedly rejected his advances, defendant persisted. The woman testified that she believed defendant was determined to have sex with her and that he would hurt her if she did not go along with it. She reported the assault immediately. Defendant was convicted of sexual assault in the first degree in violation of Conn. Gen. Stat. Ann. § 53a-70.

  • On review, defendant claimed several errors including that the trial court should have granted his motion for acquittal due to insufficiency of the evidence on the element of lack of consent. 
  • Defendant argued that he did not realize that the woman was not consenting, and that such subjective intent on his part was an element of the crime. 
  • The court disagreed. 
  • According to the court, the jury could properly have found beyond a reasonable doubt that the woman's words and actions could not reasonably be viewed to indicate her consent to intercourse. 
  • The court held that the inquiry on the issue of consent was not the subjective state of mind of defendant or the victim, but rather the victim's manifestations of lack of consent by words or conduct.

The court affirmed defendant's conviction for sexual assault in the first degree.

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