Friday, May 23, 2008

Cert petition filed in Wilson

Yesterday the Supremes docketed a cert petition seeking review of CAAF's decision rejecting a reasonable and honest mistaken belief about age as a potential defense to a sodomy with a child offense. Wilson v. United States, No. 07-1447.

I haven't been able to get a pdf of the full petition yet, but here's the QP and the Summary of Argument:

Question Presented

Whether the Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces misconstrued Article 125, Uniform Code of Military Justice, 10 U.S.C. § 925, and relevant Manual for Courts-Martial provisions when it held that the defense of mistake of fact does not apply to the age element of sodomy with a child?

Summary of Argument

The defense of mistake of fact as to age applies to sodomy with a child under the age of sixteen because the age of a child is a general intent element of the offense. Normally, every element of an offense has a mental component. Absent an affirmative indication that Congress or the President intended to dispense with mens rea, there is a presumption against strict liability in criminal offenses. Nothing indicates the President intended sodomy with a child to serve as a strict liability offense. As neither intent nor specific knowledge is mentioned, the applicable mens rea of the age element is general intent; therefore, the defense of mistake of fact as to age is available to an accused charged with sodomy with a child under the age of sixteen.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

SockPuppet is listening.