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Goldberg, on behalf of six lesbian and gay Arkansans challenging the sodomy law, will urge the Arkansas Supreme Court to reject efforts to have the case, Bryant v. Picadothrown out of court.


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Laws prohibiting sodomy existed in the penal codes of numerous US states for more than years, criminalizing this sexual behavior between same-sex and opposite-sex partners. Sodomy laws in the nineteenth century. Court records from the nineteenth century reveal that these laws were used to prosecute nonconsensual sex and that consenting adults who engaged in sodomy oral their homes were considered immune from prosecution [7]. Sodomy laws in the twentieth century. The nature and enforcement of sodomy laws changed dramatically in the next century. This persecution of private sexual acts between consenting adults generated criticism from highly influential legal authorities such as the American Law Institute—an organization comprising legal scholars, practitioners, and judges responsible for drafting the Model Penal Code MPCwhich state legislatures often adopted in part or in its entirety in developing their criminal laws—and several state commissions Arkansas argued for the decriminalization of private sodomy between consenting adults [12].

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By Jessica Gillespie. In Arkansas, it is illegal for an adult someone 18 or older to have sex with a minor someone 14 or youngereven if the sex is consensual.

Those who break the law have committed statutory rape. Statutory rape laws are premised on the assumption that minors are incapable of giving informed consent to sexual activities.

The age of consent can vary among states, and some states differentiate between consensual sex between minors who are close in age for example, two teenagers of the same ageas opposed to sex between a minor and a much older adult. Though statutory rape does not require that the prosecutor prove an assault, it is still rape.

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Of course, rape that does involve force or an assault is illegal in Arkansas and prosecuted as forcible rape. Assaults of a sexual nature may also be charged under the state's assault and battery laws and child enticement and abuse laws.

Statutory rape is prosecuted under Arkansas's rape and sexual assault laws, and penalties depend on the ages of the defendant and victim, as described below. Statutory rape includes sexual intercourse, anal or oral sex, or penetration however slight between a minor who is 13 or younger and a defendant who is more than three years older than the minor. The offense is a Class Y felonyand a conviction can result in a minimum prison sentence of 25 years.

Arkansas court strikes down anti-gay sodomy law

Code Ann. Second degree sexual assault includes sexual touching between a minor who is 13 or younger and a defendant who 18 or older; or when the minor is 12 or 13 and the defendant is younger than 18 but five or more years older than the victim. It also includes sexual contact between a minor 11 or younger when the defendant is younger than 18, but four or more years older than the victim.

Third degree sexual assault includes sexual intercourse, anal or oral sex, or penetration between a minor who is 13 or younger and a defendant who is younger than 18 and three or more years older than the. Fourth degree sexual assault includes sexual intercourse, penetration, or touching even through clothing for sexual gratification between a or year-old minor and a defendant who is 20 or older.

It is also a crime in Arkansas for a person in a position of authority at a public or private school such as a teacher, coach, or administrator to engage in sexual conduct with a student younger than 21 years of age who is enrolled in the same school.

State law requires that, in addition to the applicable fines and prison time, people convicted of certain sexual crimes including statutory rape must register as sex offenders.

Arkansas has a marital exemption for statutory rape that allows married people to have consensual sex even if their ages would prohibit it if they were not married. The marital defense is a remnant of the marital rape exemption.

Arkansas statutory rape laws

Minors are legally incapable of giving consent to having sex; so for example, if Jen, a year-old, willingly has sex with Tony, her year-old boyfriend, Tony can be charged with rape, since Jen is not legally capable of giving consent in the first place. But if Jen and Tony are married and living in Arkansas, Tony need not fear criminal charges for having consensual sex with Jen. This is because Arkansas has a marital exemption to the Arkansas statutory rape laws.

However, if Tony were to rape Jen force her to have sex against her willhe would have no protection under the law even if the two are married. In Arkansas, there is a Romeo and Juliet exemption for consensual sex between minors who are close in age; and even in certain cases when one party is a minor but the defendant is fewer than seven years older than the minor discussed above.

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Defendants accused of statutory rape often claim that they had no reason to know that their partner was underage. They may argue that the victim herself represented that she was older than she was, and that a reasonable person would have believed her. But in Arkansas, even a oral mistake as to the victim's age will not be a defense to a charge of statutory rape. If you are facing a statutory rape charge, consider consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney who regularly practices in your area.

The law can change at any time, and a lawyer can evaluate the strength of the prosecution's case against you and sex develop any defenses that might apply to your case. A lawyer can often negotiate with the prosecutor for a lesser charge or a reduction in penalties such as, for example, probation instead of prison time and will know how prosecutors and judges typically Arkansas cases like yours.

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Challenge to arkansas sodomy law reaches states highest court

Call us at 1 Issue: search. Arkansas Statutory Rape Laws.

Statutes governing Arkansas's age of consent, associated criminal charges, available defenses, and penalties for conviction. Arkansas's Statutory Rape Laws and Potential Penalties Statutory rape is prosecuted under Arkansas's rape and sexual assault laws, and penalties depend on the ages of the defendant and victim, as described below. Getting Legal Guidance The information in this article provides an overview of the law relating to statutory rape.

If you are trying to determine the legality of any kind of conduct, make sure to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney. The law is complex and changes regularly. Teachers and Students It is also a crime in Arkansas for a person in a position of authority at a public or private school such as a teacher, coach, or administrator to engage in sexual conduct with a student younger than 21 years of age who is enrolled in the same school.

Sex Offender Registration State law requires that, in addition to the applicable fines and prison time, people convicted of certain sexual crimes including statutory rape must register as sex offenders. Marriage Arkansas has a marital exemption for statutory rape that allows married people to have consensual sex even if their ages would prohibit it if they were not married.

Mistake of Age Defendants accused of statutory rape often claim that they had no reason to know that their partner was underage. See a Lawyer If you are facing a statutory rape charge, consider consulting with an experienced criminal defense attorney who regularly practices in your area.

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