People v. Evans, 85 Misc. 2d 1088 (1975)

Case Name: People v. Evans
Citation: 85 Misc. 2d 1088 (1975)

Facts: Evans used psychological techniques on a vulnerable college girl. The testimony showed that Evans was a predator and that the girl was naïve and gullible. When Evans had the girl alone in his apartment he said “I could kill you. I could rape you. I could hurt you physically.” The girl was frightened but the sexual intercourse was seemingly consensual and there was no showing of force.

Issue: Whether we should view the controlling state of mind from the point of view of the person who hears the words and interprets them as a threat or the state of mind of the person who utters such words.

Defendant’s argument: Evan’s words meant that the girl was foolish but does not show that he would have used force if the girl did not submit. Seduction is not a crime.

State’s argument: Evan’s words were intended for the girl to do what he said or else he would use force.

Holding: Not guilty because the court cannot find forcible compulsion or threat beyond a reasonable doubt.

Reasoning: The controlling state of mind should be from the person who utters them because, this being a criminal trial, the criminal intent of the defendant must be shown beyond a reasonable doubt. If the defendant did not intend a threat, then there is not the necessary criminal intent to establish culpability.

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