Juvenile Accused of Rape of Intoxicated Woman in Morgan Hill (CA Penal Code §261(3))

After a night of drinking, a woman (40) decided to do what she thought was the responsible thing and take a taxicab home.  However, she was so intoxicated that, once they arrived at her residence, the cab driver needed some help getting her into her home.  A woman and her son (16-years-old) offered their assistance.  So far, this seems like the story of two good Samaritans who, without any good reason, wanted to help a neighbor.

However, the 16-year-old son has been accused of returning to the woman’s house later that evening, raping her, and then bringing two other juveniles (one of them his 15-year-old girlfriend, into the picture to rob the residence.  The case deepened when police found the 40-year-old woman’s property at the boy’s home.   All three juveniles have been charged with violation of juvenile probation, residential burglary (CA Penal Code §459), and conspiracy (CA Penal Code §182).  And the boy who helped the drunk woman into her home originally?  He has also been accused of rape of an intoxicated person.

This brings up an interesting legal debate, however.  California law states that any person who is intoxicated cannot give consent to sexual intercourse (CA Penal Code §261(3)).  Furthermore, the person accused of rape must be proven to have “reasonably known” that the victim’s judgment was impaired.  Members of the public have argued that these provisions are too broad – allowing any man or woman the ability to claim that they were too drunk to have consensual sex and creating rape charges out of seemingly thin air.  Clearly, this law is meant to protect individuals from sexual assault; however, it is also certain that additional provisions ought to be made within the law as being intoxicated does not relieve a person of responsibility for their own actions.  Just ask anyone who has been arrested for a California DUI.

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