Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Once Is Enough

The Maine Supreme Judicial Court affirmed a domestic violence conviction of a defendant who raised on appeal the issue whether a single prior act of consensual sexual intercourse made his victim a "sexual partner"

[The defendant]  and the victim were at an apartment in Lewiston when Murphy “put her down on the floor and put his foot on her face . . . enough so it made her mouth bleed.” A little over a year before this incident, a Lewiston police officer responding to a noise complaint had witnessed Murphy and the victim having consensual sexual intercourse in the basement of an apartment building. Because the victim did not cooperate in the prosecution of the crime against her, the only evidence the jury had concerning the relationship between her and the defendant was that testimony about a single sexual act.


here the State presented evidence that Murphy and the victim did engage in a consensual sexual act approximately one year before Murphy assaulted the victim. Because the common meaning of the term “sexual partners” covers individuals who have engaged in a sexual act on one occasion as well as those in committed, intimate relationships, that evidence was sufficient to allow a jury to find that Murphy and the victim were or had been “sexual partners,” and thus “family or household members” for the purposes of domestic violence assault.

(Mike Frisch)


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