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Rape laws in Oklahoma Options
Lotje1000
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2016 3:28:04 AM

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Location: Gent, Flanders, Belgium
To briefly summarize a situation I personally find appalling: a judge in Oklahoma has ruled that "state law doesn’t criminalize oral sex with a victim who is completely unconscious."

As context: a 16-year old girl was passed out drunk and was assaulted by a 17-year old guy after he brought her home. He claimed she gave consent before passing out, she claims to remember nothing. A friend "recalled her coming in and out of consciousness" before the event.

All the details are mentioned here.

I don't quite understand how there are still issues with consent and 'ambiguity' on what (not) to do when someone is obviously really drunk.

I suppose this should come as little surprise given that necrophilia is also still legal in Oklahoma. (I hope things have changed since 2014.)

To use TheParser's style of posting:
Some people would argue that the judge followed the letter of he law, and that it is an issue because the law is archaic.
Some people would argue that the law and the judge place the blame on the victim, not the perpetrator.
Some people would argue there is little doubt on what constitutes respect for another human being and that very few people would be happy to know exactly what someone decided to do with their body while they were passed out.
I'm honestly not sure how many people would think that the situation was ok.
pedro
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2016 4:12:11 AM

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Be on the safe side. Just say no and don't drop dead.

All good ideas arrive by chance- Max Ernst
Tovarish
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2016 4:27:08 AM

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How desperate do you have to be?.
thar
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2016 4:53:31 AM

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This judge clearly believes in statute law (change the wording of the law to make it an offence) rather than common law (make a ruling stating it is an offence) which risks being overturned on appeal.

But, yeah, incredible. The law is still occasionally an ass.
Lotje1000
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2016 4:58:30 AM

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And so, it seems, are people.
Ravindra
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2016 5:00:39 AM
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So, whether oral sex or the other, perpetrated on a drunk is not a crime!
Goodness gracious!

Homosexuality in Russia is a crime and the punishment is seven years in prison, locked up with the other men. There is a three year waiting list.
Yakov Smirnoff



Ravindra
S. Ilker Orsel
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2016 7:03:59 AM

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Location: Balıkesir, Balikesir, Turkey
Don't get me started on the rape laws, and more importantly their implementations here! I could write for hours, and may even end up in jail for that!
Peter O'Connor - Dundalk
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2016 7:09:23 AM

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How allowed USA into the world of civilised nations anyway?? It's WAY beyond a joke. Not a bit funny. Besides these weird laws guns now kill more people than car accidents yet there is no real control on buying guns!!
How can anyone then expect any other area of lawful society to be correctly regulated??
mactoria
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2016 8:50:22 AM
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As outraging as this Oklahoma case is, it appears the appeals court was strictly interpreting the law in Oklahoma regarding the boy's actions, not applying "common law sense." OK is a very conservative state, with most citizens believing in a "strict construction" of laws. The law the DA used in this case doesn't clearly state specific acts that would include what happened to this 16 yr old girl and so according to the OK appeal's court ruling, the law was not broken. Since the ruling we're writing about was from an appeal's court, obviously the trial court found the 17 yr old boy guilty originally, he appealed, and it fell to the appeals court to interpret if the law applied to this case, not whether the boy was guilty. Other states' appeals courts that are not "strict constructionist" in their level of review, would look either to "common law" interpretation of the law under consideration, or would look at other types of laws that would bear on the point to make a ruling that the law should be considered broadly e.g. that a law can't always predict every possible way a person can violate it, and therefore a broad reading of the law is appropriate to reflect contemporary understanding or mores'. Hopefully, OK lawmakers will now act to broaden the law or add more specific ways of violating it. I have no reason to believe that Oklahomans as a group think what the boy did to the girl was acceptable (i.e. the trial jury found him guilty to begin with), so I don't see this as "blaming the victim."

This reflects problems with American jurisprudence (and perhaps that of other countries as well) in view of rapidly changing societies: we have new technologies tha laws even 10-15 years old never contemplated as potentials for criminal behavior (personal drones is one such technology: the right to own and operate a drone at some point creates invasions of privacy or trespassing for others, but where is that point until a new law is passed? And in this case: many of our sexual abuse laws are very old and didn't foresee either the ways that people can think up of sexually harming another, or factors such as girls being voluntarily under the influence of a drug or alcohol to the extent of a .34 blood alcohol (more than 4 times the percentage)....because 30, 40,or 50 years ago girls getting that drunk just wasn't even something that happened in conservative places like Oklahoma. US states, which are the ones that legislate most criminal behavior instead of the national Congress (crimes like sexual assault are almost always state legal matters, not federal), seem to either lack the expertise or the imagination to write laws that are broad enough to include acts or technology that don't exist at the time the law was written e.g. we outlawed talking on cell phones while driving in many states, and then had to separately outlaw texting on a cell phone a few years later when texting became possible.

As for necrophilia: It seems that most laws on the books in the few states (again OK, as well as a couple other southern states) used euphemisms instead of clear wording for necrophilic acts, euphemisms that courts today say aren't specific enough to prosecute a person under. No state legislature and no significant portion of any state's citizens believe necrophilia is an okay behavior, they just didn't spell it out in old laws and/or haven't gotten around to updating laws that would apply in the thankfully few cases of this totally unacceptable behavior. As pointed out in that article, one issue that makes some existing abuse laws not apply is that other laws applying to deceased persons have made a distinction between a living person's rights versus those of a deceased person...that a deceased person is legally considered not really a person anymore. An example of this is that in most if not all states require the permission of next of kin to authorize donation of organs of a deceased person, despite the fact that the deceased person had signed approval for organ donation prior to his/her death. With the exception of an executed will, for the most part deceased people stop having rights under the law....I'd guess this interpretation of the law lies in the Judeo-Christian underpinnings of much of American society including its laws....once the soul is seen as leaving the human body, the body ceases being a human with rights. Still, I'd guess that 99% of Americans would expect and assume that necrophilia was illegal, and even the states that don't have specific necrophilia laws assumed that it was illegal. Clearly, some states need to update their laws, omitting euphemisms for unacceptable acts against dead bodies and just spelling it out so it's clearly illegal.

Interesting posting, Lotje1000.
Romany
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2016 2:30:55 PM
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When this happened and I read about it, it was in the context of the NEW laws whereby women are serving jail sentences of up to 15 years for having a miscarriage or an abortion.

In that kind of scenario it seemed to be yet another reeling in of women's rights in America. Part of this whole conversation about the taking back of women's rights in the USA on social media right now includes this inhumane ruling.

So thanks for putting this case, at least, into the 'law is an ass' box.

However, I shall never be mollified at the draconian punishments accorded now to women in a First World country. 10 - 15 for the trauma of losing a baby? It's the sort of behaviour one would expect to have to fight in non-technological countries, or in primitive tribes - I cannot imagine the fear and tension one would would feel if we women were just regarded as animated incubators in OTHER developed countries. As it seems those who both proposed and then passed these hideous laws think of us.

I'm ashamed that such laws exist - and very, very angry.
eraigames
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2016 5:04:48 PM
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Romany wrote:

women are serving jail sentences of up to 15 years for having a miscarriage



Whoa, what are you talking about?? I'd be grateful for a link as I have not heard about anything like this!
Midobecker
Posted: Friday, April 29, 2016 9:02:08 PM

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The law in this case is utterly wrong. Inexcusable and unjustifiable acts as raping shall be punish not applaud or excused. It's morally and ethically wrong. Trying to explain it from the perspective of a lawyer or judge makes absolutely no sense. This whole thing is completely ridiculous and unacceptable.
mactoria
Posted: Saturday, April 30, 2016 1:24:20 AM
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Location: Stockton, California, United States
Midobecker wrote:
The law in this case is utterly wrong. Inexcusable and unjustifiable acts as raping shall be punish not applaud or excused. It's morally and ethically wrong. Trying to explain it from the perspective of a lawyer or judge makes absolutely no sense. This whole thing is completely ridiculous and unacceptable.


Midobecker: While I agree that this 17 yr old boy forcing oral sex on a horribly drunk 16 year old girl is inexcusable, and like the jury that convicted the boy, I think he should be in prison for whatever length of time is prescribed by law (actually, I think our sexual abuse/assault sentences are terribly inadequate at least in my home state, California, and as far as I know, in most states....sexual assault is a traumatic, violent crime and the perpetrators of these crimes are beyond rehabilitation as far as our current ability to treat people), we are a nation governed by laws. While some judges try to apply their own version of justice at times, our system of justice is based on the ideal (though not always the reality) that the law is applied as written regardless of how the judge or jurors feel. The take away point of this case I hope for Oklahoma is that they need to overhaul their laws ASAP. Given how conservative and strict about personal behavior the average Oklahoman seems to be (my personal bias), it was surprising to me that such awful behavior wasn't clearly written in the law as illegal and that it didn't carry a lengthy, punishing sentence. I would imagine the jurors on this case were shocked when their verdict was overruled by the appeals court, and most if not all probably don't accept this ruling which is based on the dreaded "technicality," the bane of many people's feelings about our legal system. It's the responsibility of our elected officials to write proper, clear laws and though for years OK evidently thought the law was clear (I'm betting there are many people in prison based on this same sexual battery law because either they didn't appeal or the appeals court at the time ruled differently as to the wording of the law).

As for Romany's statement about 10-15 yr sentences in First World countries for women who have miscarriages or abortions, like "eraigames" I also would like further information. As far as I know, this is not the case in any American state or European country, though several crackpot conservative legislatures are trying to criminalize what women do with their bodies.
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