Tuesday, February 26, 2013

State of New Jersey in the Interest of M.T.S. case brief

State of New Jersey in the Interest of M.T.S. case brief summary
129 N.J. 422

PROCEDURAL POSTURE: The state petitioned for review of a decision of the Superior Court, Appellate Division (New Jersey), which reversed a disposition of delinquency of a juvenile for committing a sexual assault. The appellate court concluded that the absence of evidence of force beyond that required in the act of sexual penetration precluded a finding of second-degree sexual assault.

-The trial court determined that defendant juvenile was delinquent for committing a sexual assault. -The trial court's decision was based on evidence that defendant and a fifteen-year-old girl engaged in consensual kissing and thereafter in actual sexual penetration of the girl to which she had not consented.
-The appellate court reversed, concluding that the nonconsensual penetration did not constitute sexual assault because it was not accompanied by some level of force more than that necessary to accomplish the penetration.
-The court reversed and reinstated the disposition of juvenile delinquency.

The court held that any act of sexual penetration engaged in by defendant without the affirmative and freely given permission of the victim to the specific act of penetration constituted the offense of sexual assault.

-Permission could be inferred either from acts or statements reasonably viewed in light of the surrounding circumstances.
-The court found that the record reasonably supported the trial court's conclusion that the victim had not expressed consent to the act of intercourse, either through her words or actions.

OUTCOME: The court reversed the judgment of the appellate court and reinstated the trial court's disposition of juvenile delinquency for the commission of second-degree sexual assault. The court held that the element of physical force was satisfied by any use of force in the absence of affirmative and freely given permission to the act of sexual penetration.

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