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NCJ Number: 99290 Find in a Library
Title: People v Worrell - Equal Protection Under the Assault Laws, Regardless of Age
Journal: Detroit College of Law Review  Volume:1985  Issue:1  Dated:(Spring 1985)  Pages:81-95
Author(s): D Basmaji
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 15
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After considering the 1975 changes in Michigan's criminal sexual conduct statute and the general trend in rape statutes, this paper analyzes the Michigan Supreme Court's decision in People v. Worrell, which held that force is an essential element of assault with intent to commit sexual penetration, even when the victim is under the age of consent.
Abstract: Michigan's current sexual assault statute proscribes sexual penetration and sexual contact, which are ranked in four degrees of criminal sexual conduct. In People v. Worrell, the defendant was convicted of assault with intent to commit criminal sexual conduct involving sexual penetration with a 13-year-old girl. The defendant contended before the Michigan Court of Appeals that the 'trial court erred in failing to instruct the jury that the assault required some force or violence.' Although the court of appeals affirmed, the Michigan Supreme Court reversed the trial court, holding that a person who attempts to have intercourse with an underage child 'may not be found guilty of assault with intent to rape where the child consented to what was done.' Thus, although consent is not a defense to intercourse with an underage female, under 'Worrell', consent is a defense to assault. This makes assault in the sexual context consistent with the ordinary definition of assault. The dissent differentiates between sexual assault offenses and other criminal assault. This distinction encourages inconsistency in defining criminal acts. Although 'Worrell' provides consistency in the proof required for assault, it may dilute the special protection against sexual abuse traditionally afforded children. Ninety-six footnotes are provided.
Index Term(s): Judicial decisions; Michigan; Sexual assault; State laws; Statutory rape
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