Monday, June 15, 2009

Georgia Supreme Court: Lesbian sex with minor students OK

The Supreme Court is getting it done today:

CHASE V. THE STATE (S09G0139)
In a 5-to-2 vote, the Supreme Court of Georgia has reversed a ruling by the Georgia Court of Appeals involving the issue of consent and a teacher who was 28 when she was arrested for having sex with a 16-year-old girl. The Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling against Melissa Lee Chase of Richmond County, who was convicted of sexual assault and sentenced to 10 years in prison followed by five years on probation.

“This appeal presents a straightforward question of law,” says today’s majority opinion, written by Chief Justice Leah Ward Sears. “The question is whether, in November 2006, consent of the alleged victim was a defense to the crime of sexual assault of a person enrolled in school. We have concluded that it was, as long as the student had reached the legal age of consent. Accordingly, the trial court erred in preventing the defendant from presenting a consent defense at trial…”

At issue in this case is Georgia law §16-6-5.1. In three subsections, the statute defines sexual assault against persons in custody, in a hospital, in a school or under a counselor’s care. Chase was charged under subsection (b), which states that “a supervisor of another person” commits sexual assault when he or she has sexual relations with a person who is enrolled in a school. Subsection (c) similarly states it is sexual assault for a psychotherapist to have sex with someone he is treating, or for a law enforcement supervisor to have sex with someone in custody. And subsection (d) prohibits employees of long-term care facilities from having sex with anyone admitted to the facility. Only subsection (c) adds this: “Consent of the victim shall not be a defense to a prosecution under this subsection.”

“The plain language of the statute does not in any way indicate that the General Assembly intended to remove consent as a defense to a charge of violating subsection (b),” the majority states. In Georgia the age of consent is 16, the opinion points out, meaning it is generally not illegal to have sex with a willing participant who is 16 or older. ...

But in his dissent, Justice George Carley disagrees, writing that the majority “remarkably misinterprets” the law. He disagrees that the language about consent is limited to subsection (c). “Although the majority accurately quotes many rules of statutory construction, it fails to apply them correctly, and the result is disturbing,” says the dissent.
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How much you want to bet the General Assembly jumps on this next session? Other interesting opinions from the court today:

EXPEDIA, INC. V. CITY OF COLUMBUS, GA (S09A0567)
In a split 4-to-3 decision, the Supreme Court of Georgia has ruled in favor of the City of Columbus in its lawsuit against Expedia, Inc., an on-line travel company. Today’s opinion, written by Justice Robert Benham, upholds a Muscogee County court’s ruling that the local government has the right to impose a tax on the total amount Expedia charges customers to book hotel rooms in Columbus. The case is similar to others recently filed in Georgia and elsewhere.

MONGERSON V. MONGERSON (S09F013)
The Georgia Supreme Court has thrown out part of a Fayette County court’s decision that prohibited a divorced father from exposing his children to his gay friends.

MANLOVE ET AL. V. UNIFIED GOVT. OF ATHENS-CLARKE CO. (S09A0118)
In another split decision, the Georgia Supreme Court has upheld by a 4-to-3 vote a Clarke County court’s dismissal of two University of Georgia students’ lawsuit challenging the local noise ordinance for making them turn down their music. The students claimed the local law is unconstitutional because it violates their First Amendment right to free speech.

1 comment:

Not anyone said...

Manlove. hehehehehehe.