Case Caption: Irvin O. Flores v. People of the Virgin IslandsCase Number: S. Ct. Crim. No. 2017-0070Date: 03/28/2019Author: Hodge, Rhys S. Citation: 2019 VI 12Summary: Convictions for first degree rape as an act of domestic violence, 14 V.I.C. § 1701(a)(4), and unlawful sexual conduct in the first degree, 14 V.I.C § 1708(a)(6), as acts of domestic violence under 16 V.I.C. § 91(b)(6), are vacated and the order denying a motion for judgment of acquittal is reversed. The plain meaning of the word “stupor” in 14 V.I.C. § 1701(a)(4) is a mental condition marked by absence of spontaneous movement, greatly diminished responsiveness to stimulation, and usually impaired consciousness. Reading § 1701(a)(4) in its entirety, dulled sensibility must be so great as to prevent the victim from being able to resist sexual intercourse. While the evidence supports the inference that the putative victim in this case was tired at the time of the incident, it is insufficient to demonstrate her state of mind as required by § 1701(a)(4): that her sensibility was so greatly dulled as to prevent her from being able to resist sexual intercourse. In addition, because the alleged stupor in this case was not induced by an intoxicating, narcotic or anesthetic agent, the People were required to prove that the victim was known by defendant to be in such state of stupor, and here there was insufficient evidence to show, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the defendant had knowledge of her dulled state of mind. On the charge of engaging in sexual contact with a person not his spouse, knowing that her mental capacity was compromised, in violation of 14 V.I.C. § 1708(a)(6), although not defined by the Legislature in the statute, the plain meaning of “unconscious” is (a) not knowing or perceiving: not aware and (b) free from self-awareness. Here, the People failed to introduce sufficient evidence to support the inference that the victim was unconscious at the time of the sexual contact act. The contention that this defendant is guilty under § 1701(a)(1) generally, despite not being charged under this subsection, because his fraudulent misrepresentation of himself as the victim’s husband should invalidate her consent, is without merit. Generally, in the absence of a statute, where a woman is effectively capable of consenting and does consent to sexual intercourse, the perpetrator is not guilty of rape even though consent was obtained through fraud. Under the circumstances of this case, and in absence of a rape by fraud statute in the Virgin Islands, the conviction for first-degree rape cannot stand. The Superior Court’s order entered July 18, 2017 is reversed and the Superior Court is instructed to enter a judgment of acquittal in accordance with this opinion.Attachment: Open Document or Opinion