Commonwealth v. Lopez

433 Mass. 722, 745 N.E.2d 961 (2001)



Under Massachusetts law, rape requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of penetration, by force or threat of force, either implied, implicit, or explicit, and against the victim's will. 


Defendant was charged for the rape of a 17 year old-girl. The victim's account was that she had never consented and had been forced while defendant said that she was an active willing participant. Defendant was denied a jury instruction on mistake of fact as to consent. Defendant was convicted by the trial court. On appeal, the judgment was affirmed.


Did the trial court err in refusing to give a mistake of fact instruction to the jury?




The appellate court held that Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 265, § 22 rape was a general intent crime. Proof that defendant intended sexual intercourse by force coupled with proof that the girl did not consent was sufficient for conviction. Any perception, reasonable, honest, or otherwise, of defendant as to her consent was not relevant.

Click here to view the full text case and earn your Daily Research Points.