Tuesday, February 26, 2013

State v. Rusk case brief

State v. Rusk case brief summary
289 Md. 230

PROCEDURAL POSTURE: Defendant was convicted of rape in the second degree. Defendant appealed his conviction to the Court of Special Appeals, Criminal Court of Baltimore (Maryland), which reversed his conviction finding that the evidence was legally insufficient to warrant a conclusion that defendant's words or actions created a reasonable fear in the victim's mind that defendant would have harmed her. The State appealed.

OVERVIEW: The victim and a friend were drinking in a bar. Defendant approached the victim and they talked. When the victim decided to leave, defendant asked for a ride home. The victim drove defendant home. Defendant took the victim's car keys and would not return them until after they had intercourse. The victim stated that she feared the look in defendant's eyes and that he choked her lightly when she protested having intercourse. After intercourse, he returned her keys and she left. The court determined that the appellate court substituted its judgment for that of the jury instead of applying an appropriate standard of review.

The court found that, after viewing the evidence in the light most favorable to the prosecution, any rational trier of fact could have found the essential elements rape in the second degree beyond a reasonable doubt.

The reasonableness of the victim's fear was a question for the jury to resolve. A rationale jury could have found that the victim was in fear and so did not consent to the intercourse and that defendant's conduct was reasonably calculated to induce fear in the victim such that there was force.

OUTCOME: The judgment of the appellate court was reversed and remanded with instructions to reinstate the judgment of the lower court. Based upon the evidence presented, a reasonable jury could have found that all the elements of rape in the second degree were present.
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