The Thoughts of an Educated Young African American Male

Suprise, Suprise! Rape Charges dropped in the Duke Lacrosse Case

Ok, the District Attorney of Durham, NC dropped the rape charges in the Duke Lacrosse case. He managed to hold on to the sexual offense and kidnapping. Some are going to wonder the difference between rape and sexual offense. The major difference is that:

(1) Rape involves vaginal intercourse. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-27.2 (2006).

Sexual offense involves : a sexual act defined by North Carolina statutes as, cunnilingus (oral sex on a female organ), fellatio (oral sex on a male organ), analingus (oral sex on the anal region), or anal intercourse, but does not include vaginal intercourse. Sexual act also means the penetration, however slight, by any object (including human body parts) into the genital or anal opening of another person’s body. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-27.1(4) (2006).  I added everything in parenthesis for clarity.

Both first degree rape and sexual offense, in relevant part, must include one of the following:
      a. Employs or displays a dangerous or deadly weapon or an article which the other person reasonably believes to be a dangerous or deadly weapon; or
      b. Inflicts serious personal injury upon the victim or another person; or
      c. The person commits the offense aided and abetted by one or more other persons. (clearly the element the State is going after).

Also, both rape and sexual offense carry the same punishment. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-27.4 (2006).

So, rape is vaginal intercouse while sexual offense involves other sex acts. Also, the punishment for both crimes is the same so this is not quite the victory it appears.  

It seemed clear from this point that a rape didn’t occur, and the sexual offense charges are a way for the State to maintain their belief in the story of the accuser. They might be the only people who still believe her. 

I wonder if all those people who were ready to burn the players’ house down, and vilify those who wanted to wait before coming to a decision will apologize. Also, when are the black panthers coming back to Durham? It’s about time for another circus act to come in town.

Also, some relevant case law to consider.

  The guarantee against double jeopardy under U.S. Const., Amend. V protects against multiple punishments for the same offense. Defendant may not be punished for both first-degree kidnapping and sexual assault, where sexual assault is used to elevate kidnapping to first degree. 

Further,  where defendant was convicted and sentenced for sexual assault and first-degree kidnapping predicated on one sexual assault, trial court was required to arrest judgment either on conviction of sexual assault or on conviction of first-degree kidnapping. Defendant could be resentenced for second-degree kidnapping, if judgment on first-degree kidnapping was arrested. State v. Coats, 100 N.C. App. 455, 397 S.E.2d 512 (1990), cert. denied, 328 N.C. 573, 403 S.E.2d 515 (1991).

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December 22, 2006 Posted by | African American, Black men, Black Panthers, Black women, college, district attorney, Duke Lacrosse, Durham, Law, NC, rape, rape charges dropped, sexual offense, strip club | 7 Comments