Garnett v. State
COA MD - 1993
- D was a 20-year-old mentally disabled man. He had consensual sex with a 13-year-old girl. The girl became pregnant and gave birth to D's child.
- D claimed that the girl and her friends told him that the girl was 16.
- D was indicted under MD's statutory rape law.
- Trial court found D guilty.
- MD COA affirmed, D guilty.
- Does the MD statutory rape statute require any mens rea?
- The MD statutory rape statute does not require a showing of mens rea.
- The legislature's silence as to mens rea on this statute is clear since another section of the statute lays out a requirement for mens rea.
- Examination of the drafting history of the statute reveals that it was intended to be a strict liability statute.
- The penalty of up to 20 years in prison is strong evidence that a mens rea requirement was intended by the legislature.
- There is no indication that the legislature intended that criminal liability attach to one who is unable to appreciate criminal risk due to mental incapacity.
- Mens rea is a deeply rooted part of our justice system.
- The MPC attacks strict liability since there is no deterrent effect and the person committing the act is not morally culpable.