Thursday, April 12, 2012

Commonwealth v. Sherry case brief (386 Mass. 682)

Commonwealth v. Sherry

386 Mass. 682 (1982)
437 N.E.2d 224

-Sherry and his two companions, the Ds were all doctors and the victim was a nurse.
-The defendants held a party and through the sequence comprising multiple events, the victim found herself at one of the defendant's homes. There the defendant's had sexual intercourse with the victim.
-The defendant's argued that they did not think that they were committing rape because the victim did not resist in any shape or form.
-The defendants were convicted by the jury of rape.

Was an error made in the conviction process?

No, In rape cases, victim does not have to physically struggle with the rapist in order to show lack of consent.

-There have been no cases in the United States which show that an honest reasonable mistake in the consent can be considered good defense in rape cases. 

-The court, concluding, stated:

"We need not reach the issue whether a reasonable and honest mistake to the fact of consent would be a defense, for even if we assume it to be so, the defendants did not request a jury instruction based on a reasonable good faith mistake of fact. We are aware of no American court of last resort that recognizes mistake of fact, without consideration of its reasonableness, as a defense; nor do the defendants cite such authority. There was no error."

-Court ruled that there was no error in the conviction process and the convictions of the three defendants were affirmed.

Link to Case:  Commonwealth v. Sherry (full case)

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