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There are now 8 comments on pg 55. Strict Liability: Forgetting the Principle.
What are your thoughts?
  1. Mito says

    Your comments on statutory rape seem really strange to me. I don’t know that much about American laws on statutory rape (it varies by state, correct?), but in Canada the age of consent is staggered in such a way that it’s pretty darn obvious you’ve done something wrong, and have definitely hurt someone much younger (who, then, would clearly not be in a position to give consent due to their age).
    I guess it’s just a bit confusing to read about over-punishment when, where I come, from that does not seem to be an issue. (More the opposite because it’s under-reported). My assumption is that in many states the laws are not so thoughtfully defined? (e.g. a 19 year old and 17 year old who were in a relationship couldn’t have consensual sex because one is under 18, even though clearly they are of similar age and both clearly capable of making the decision to consent in the circumstances.)

    • Exactly how, other than asking, can you tell the difference between a 18 year old woman and a 17 year, 364 day old girl (or 16 vs 15.999 in certain states)?
      If you do ask, other than checking ID (very carefully, she might have faked it), how do you know she isn’t lying?
      Or are you saying it should be illegal for a 25 year old to have sex with an 18 year old?

    • The criticism isn’t directed towards sex with a minor being a crime – the point being made is just that it should be a crime that requires intent. I.e. if a 17-year-old successfully deceives a 30-year-old into thinking she is 25, and then they have sex, is the 30-year-old really guilty of a crime (in the moral sense)? Strict liability combined with relatively high ages of consent (in some states it’s 18) means deception and someone being convicted without mens rea is possible (even if it isn’t necessarily common) – there’s plenty of 17-year-olds who could conceivably deceive a reasonable person that they were 20+ (especially if fake ID is involved).

  2. Legion says

    Age of consent in the US also varies by state.
    For example: Georgia 16, it is a felony for anyone over 18 years of age to have sex with a person beneath 16 years of age punishable by imprisonment not less than one nor more than twenty years if the actor is under 21, but not less than ten nor more than twenty years if the actor is 21 or older. If the actor is under 19 and the victim is over 14 and less than 48 months younger than the actor it is a misdemeanor, not a felony. There is no close in age exception to Georgia’s law, although people thirteen and over can consent to sex within legal marriage. -from Wikipedia.

    Apparently it’s also legal to marry a 13y/o in Georgia.

  3. Robert Montrose says

    And the way some states have defined statutory rape, even if the alleged victim commits fraud, including by showing a fake id, the party is still liable. Given that most of these laws include marriage as a defense, it makes one wonder if some legislators and advocacy groups are really trying to stealth outlaw fornication by way of a chilling effect.

    Furthermore, to describe this crime as a type of rape is to denigrate, demean, and diminish the meaning of rape and all victims thereof. Rape is the violation of a person’s physical sphere in the most intimate, and therefore humiliating, way. Having sex with someone who is mentally incapacitated is a crime because often the person does, and has a right to, feel violated because they never gave that consent to the most intimate of all interpersonal acts. Merely regretting a decision that in hindsight was obviously poor does not constitute such a violation of one’s sexual sphere in the mind of any reasonable person, male or female.

    I would not be opposed to making sexual relations with an adolescent a misdemeanor, a different crime altogether. Coercion of any type should, as always, be rightly considered rape, and any attempt to elicit sex by using one’s status as an adult should be considered attempted rape. In all other cases however, the punishment should be limited to restitution, probation, and a public or private apology as per the victim’s request, no sex offender registration. All else only serves to muddy the water, and encourage the use of terms like, “legitimate” or “forcible” rape. That is not justice for anyone, victims least of all.

  4. Computant says

    In Alaska 16 is legal, unless the older party is in a position of authority over the younger party (teacher/parent/step-parent/police officer/etc.), then it is 18-for any age older party. A 16 year old friend of mine married a 38 year old when I was in high school.
    For those under 16, up to 3 years difference was legal, so 18-15, or 17-14, or 16-13…
    Another fun thing, they determined that “consent” for a minor meant parental consent. If a 15 year old or even 17 year old girl got pregnant, and the guy didn’t want to get married to her, the parents could say “we didn’t consent” and send him to jail for rape-unless he changed his mind about the wedding, then the parents would decide they did consent…fun huh?

    • So basically instead of a shotgun wedding, you have a prosecution wedding? There is something wrong with that, and for me further evidence that the state needs to get out of the marriage buisiness altogether.

  5. Another thing, the way statutory rape laws get applied is abhorrently sexist and patriarchal. When two minors under the AoC have sex, the law almost always comes down only on the male, regardless of who is older or whose idea it was. Technically, one could say they raped each other, but the law never treats it that way.

    The implication is clearly that the AoC is really the minimum age girls can consent to sex, but boys can at any age, so long as the other party isn’t an adult. That’s a really warped way to run law in the 21st century.

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