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Birthday Law:

I learned yesterday, by reading Commonwealth v. Hooks, 2007 WL 901762 (Pa.Super.), 2007 PA Super 85 (Mar. 27), about a common-law rule that surprised me: "[F]or purposes of computing a person's age, one attains the age in question on the day prior to the anniversary of his birthdate." Hooks concluded that Pennsylvania law had largely departed from this rule, but the rule apparently did exist.

I was also struck by the rhetoric of the opinion. First a bit of background about the case: Hooks was sentenced for "aggravated indecent assault on a person less than 16 years of age, statutory sexual assault, and indecent assault"; he had had a sexual encounter (the details are contested) with a girl whom he had just met -- he was a door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesman, and she was a resident of one of the houses he visited -- on the day before her 16th birthday. He claimed it was consensual, she claimed it was not; the jury acquitted him of rape by forcible compulsion, indecent exposure, and sexual assault, but convicted him of statutory sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault with a person less than 16 years of age and indecent assault; he was acquitted of the remaining charges. The only legal question in the appeal had to do with the under-16 charge (which did not require a showing of lack of consent at trial), given the girl's birthday. For those who care about such things, I note that Hooks was 23.

The court had to choose whether to apply the vestiges of the common law rule, or to follow the modern Pennsylvania (and nationwide) trend, under which a person becomes 16 on her 16th birthday, not the day before. Here is what strikes me as the heart of its reasoning:

Pursuant to section 1921, we must look to the occasion and necessity for the statute among other considerations--the mischief to be remedied, the object to be attained, the former law, if any, including other statutes upon the same or similar subjects. This section, perhaps more than any other of the Statutory Construction Act, sharpens the implication that the statute creating the criminal charges under appeal must be construed to provide maximum protection to children 16 and under, maximum interception and assurance of trial for adult perpetrators of child sexual assault, the greatest attainment of protection of society against child sexual predators, and the merging of these efforts and provisions with the juvenile law, Megan's Law, and child pornography and child sexual solicitation laws which have evolved between the enactment of the Juvenile Act in 1903 and the most recent laws protecting children against child predators....

The balance between strict construction of penal statutes and other related statutes, which can be more liberally construed, is exhibited in Iafrate II, supra [a Pennsylvania Supreme Court decision rejecting the common-law rule in a different context]. It is essential that child victims of sexual assault receive the same protection as that provided to juvenile offenders in Iafrate II, as the goal of the statutes subject of our consideration, like the Juvenile Act, is the care and protection of the child....

Long before Iafrate, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in Commonwealth ex rel. Fisher, 213 Pa. 48, 62 A. 198 (1905), which declared the Juvenile Act to be valid, made clear that children are in a special class. In the Court's Opinion Justice Brown calls attention to the fact that the protecting arm of the act is for all who have not attained 16 years of age, and who may need its protection....

For the proper enforcement of [various] long standing statutes [aimed at protecting children] and more recent ones dealing with the age of minors, such as the statutes considered herein, it is crucial that the common sense anniversary rule be applied.

This common sense application is particularly relevant to section 3121(c) of Pennsylvania's rape statute which specifically categorizes as Rape of a child, sexual intercourse with a complainant who is less than 13 years of age. It is ludicrous to suggest that the legislature of this Commonwealth, who enacted a statute to protect children from sexual aggressors and that is dependent upon the age of the particular victim for its enforcement, intended that for purposes of the statute, child victims would turn 13 the day before their 13th birthdays.

When a common law rule, in effect, would pervert justice and contravene legislative and societal needs, and it is not in the best interests of justice or public policy, a change by the court is mandated....

Now if Hooks indeed raped the girl (or had sex short of intercourse with her against her will), he deserves to be punished. If he had sex with an under-16-year-old girl, applying statutory rape laws also makes perfect sense. And I think the revised -- you turn 16 on your 16th birthday -- rule is more reasonable, because more expected, than the common-law rule, though I also acknowledge there's some cost in shifting from one rule to another, especially when the new rule punishes people for what they may have reasonably thought was allowed under the own rule. (Imagine these were consensual lovers who were waiting until the girl was legal to have sex, and they actually did their research, which led them to the old rule.)

But I don't quite see how all this rhetoric about "pervert[ing] justice," "maximum protection to children 16 and under," and "the greatest attainment of protection of society against child sexual predators" fits with the case in which the debate is about one day. Hooks would have not been punished under the indecent-assault-under-16 law if the incident had happened one day later; everyone agrees with that. The law would not have treated the 16-year-old as being in need of protection against consensual sex (nonconsensual sex is a different matter, but he was charged on that separately, and partly convicted and partly acquitted). How would there be any material loss of "protection of society against child sexual predators" if the court interpreted the law as allowing the 16-year-old-minus-1-day as being capable of consenting just as the 16-year-old is capable? Where would be the "perversion of justice" in such a holding?

One could argue that there may be perversion of justice in changing a rule to a defendant's detriment, when the defendant could have reasonably relied on it (highly unlikely here, but possible in my hypothetical about the lovers who let out their sexual frustrations in doing legal research about when they can lawfully have sex). But -- again focusing on the statutory rape charge at the heart of the case, and not on the charges that required a showing of lack of consent -- it's hard to see perversion of justice in sticking with an old rule that would set the age of consent one day earlier than the majority thinks reasonable.

The dissenting judge, I think, articulated this point right (though I can't speak to his more general point about how the earlier Pennsylvania precedents should be construed) (emphasis added):

The Majority sidesteps the approach utilized in Iafrate because it apparently feels compelled to offer an interpretation that favors to the maximum degree the interests of society in protecting minors even if it means ignoring a fundamental principle of statutory construction within the realm of criminal law [the principle that penal statutes are to be strictly construed in the defendant's favor]. The Majority creates a compelling argument and, while I certainly favor protecting minors, I am unwilling to eschew long established rules of statutory construction to extend the scope of a penal provision a few more hours when it is clear that the length of the protection is essentially an arbitrary choice. In the court of public opinion, Appellant might rightfully be condemned as a "sleazeball" for his actions. In a court of law, however, Appellant is supposed to be deserving of the protections afforded all Americans, one of which compels the strict construction of penal provisions. Instead of adhering to this principle, the Majority utilizes a principle of broad construction.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. More Birthday Law:
  2. Birthday Law:
Bored Lawyer:
Wait a second. The statute being construed is a criminal statute, not a civil one. What happened to the Rule of Lenity? Or the related constitutional rule that due process requires fair notice of what the crime is.

I always thought in the criminal context when the statute is ambiguous, we give the defendant the benefit of the doubt. That seems to have been forgotten in this decision.
3.29.2007 11:26am
Nathan_M (mail):
Damn activist judges!
3.29.2007 11:37am
KevinQ (mail) (www):
Two things. First, I think it's possible that the majority is responding to the unwritten purpose of the law, which is "Prevent our daughters from having sex for as long as possible." That's the only way that "We're protecting the children by redefining the definition of a child" makes sense.

Second, it's also possible that this is another example of "Hard cases make bad law." Reading how the jury voted on the charges, it seems likely that this was the result of compromise in the jury room. The jury wanted to punish him for something, but couldn't muster enough votes for rape. (Lack of evidence, somebody's belief that all 16-year-old girls are temptress harlots, etc...) But, they could agree to get him for the lesser charge. This court saw the decision for what it was, and was just unwilling to allow the guy to go unpunished. So, the law was changed to allow the "correct" result. Justice is served.

K
3.29.2007 11:51am
Former Law Review Editor:
The "day before anniversary" rule is still current in Virginia, at least with respect to alcohol purchases.
3.29.2007 11:54am
New World Dan (www):

Second, it's also possible that this is another example of "Hard cases make bad law."

Quite the opposite. This is a case of bad law making a hard case. This is what happens when the law dictates a black and white line be drawn across a field of gray. Both as a question of juvinile justice and a question of juvinile victims, the correct approach should be to asses the crime as a function of how close the victim/perp is to the age of consent/adulthood. Now, we could debate whether this should be a linear or logorithmic progression, or some other function. Now, while this might require politicians, judges, and lawyers to do math, that's not the worst thing in the world. It might even be good for them. At least a couple of the conspiritors here seem to be math geeks. :)
3.29.2007 12:10pm
Mho (mail):
I'm always taken by how the best answer generally seems to have a clarity that the next best answer simply lacks. The majority's statement definitely has the shotgun air of aiming in the general vicinity of a predetermined result and hoping for a hit. The dissent resembles a rifle shot through the heart of the majority's rationale.

The "correct" result should be the result obtained within a strict reading of clear rules, not within the rules slightly bent for a result that feels right. It seems to me that the latter contortions are mainly what makes this a "hard case," not the need for judges to conspire with a baffled jury to cut the baby in half because we just don't want to give the defendant the complete benefit of the doubt to which he is entitled.
3.29.2007 12:21pm
blindgambit:
An interesting follow-up: PA permits persons under 16 to marry w/ court and parental permission. What occurs if 2 15 years old marry and consumate the marraige on the wedding night?

For this particular case, I'm confused as to why the Rule of Lenity didn't play in his favor. The court's rhetoric is also a little heated but clearly is being used to support a bright-line approach.
3.29.2007 12:27pm
John Kunze (mail):
Is there any evidence that anyone remembers the old common law here?

If legislators, prosecutors, defense lawyers, judges and defendants are not aware of it, then the the common law has actually changed, since many cases every year are decided according to the common parlance meaning of "16 or older" rather than the old legal meaning. It would now break precedence rather than support it to apply the old law.

I doubt the defendant knew the old meaning at the time of the act in question. If he knew the old meaning, was he being to clever, discounting the possibility that the meaning had changed? In any case, if he did not, there is no reason to lose sleep over this.

Nevertheless, the Rule of Lenity is an essential bulwark of the rule of law.

(Of course, I am not a lawyer.)
3.29.2007 12:32pm
2L:

I doubt the defendant knew the old meaning at the time of the act in question.


That's irrelevant, IMO. If we hold defendants responsible for obeying laws they didn't know about (and we do; "Ignorance is no excuse"), then logically we have to grant them the benefit of defenses they also didn't know about.

I'm inclined to think that the dissent has the better of this argument. Of course, it's impossible to know whether the jury actually believed that the sex was consensual, or they simply made a compromise as theorized above.
3.29.2007 12:44pm
Steve:
Yeah, I'm with the dissent here. The majority seems to invent this proposition that ambiguities should be construed to give maximum protection to the victim, which just isn't right.
3.29.2007 1:16pm
r78:
The "day before" was law in the state where I grew up, too.

But I failed in convincing two different bartenders when I tried to buy my first "legal" drink.
3.29.2007 1:35pm
Aultimer:
A good case for invoking "de minimis non curat lex" in addition to Lenity.
3.29.2007 2:00pm
Anon5151:
But what happens when lenity requires the modern rule (someone who commits a crime the day before their Xth birthday and wants to be treats as a juvenile offender) ?
3.29.2007 2:22pm
Kenvee:
The "day before rule" was also present in some federal statutes, although I'm not sure if it still is. My dad was a New Year's baby, and he once came across some tax statute that used that rule, so he was able to claim certain benefits for, say, 2007 when he didn't actually turn the proper age until 2008. I'm not sure who came up with the rule, but it sure is a weird one!

That said, anytime we have a bright line age distinction, it's going to be an arbitrary one. Does anyone really think a teenager magically becomes more rational the day after his 18th birthday than the day before? Does anyone really think it's horrible to murder a child one day before her sixth birthday but not one day after? For that matter, did any of us become better drivers just by virtue of reaching our 16th birthday? The guy who was executed last night in Texas was 6 months older than his co-defendant, yet we decide one deserves life and the other death. It's always inherently arbitrary and irrational. But when drawing rules and laws, we HAVE to have some distinctions by age, even if one day one way or another doesn't matter, because otherwise you have no way of getting anything done.
3.29.2007 2:53pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
The law does not apply in favor of a person accused of hurting a child. I thought everyone knew that.
3.29.2007 2:54pm
Seamus (mail):
The majority seems to invent this proposition that ambiguities should be construed to give maximum protection to the victim, which just isn't right.

Except that the ambiguity here is over whether there is a "victim" at all.
3.29.2007 3:03pm
An0n:
There are still door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesmen? Really?
3.29.2007 3:12pm
J. F. Thomas (mail):
I thought this rule was a little-known piece of trivia everyone learned in law school.
3.29.2007 3:55pm
Jesse Wendel:
What total bull on the part of the majority. Courts are there precisely to protect us from notions such as these.

When there is an authentic question of law, it is a given that the law is to be construed in a manner most favorable to the defense. That's just the way it goes. This is an obvious wrong.
3.29.2007 4:09pm
Falafalafocus (mail):
I agree with the above posters: the majority is simply not sound.

Anon5151,
To answer your question (regarding the defendant who commits a crime the day before their Xth birthday and therefore wants to be a juvenile offender) I vote no to that one as well. If the common law rule is as stated above, and if the common law rule has not be abrogated by the legislature, (in Florida, anyway) it is improper for a court to abrogate those common law rules with the new legislation. Your defendant needs to petition the legislature for a clearer statute.
3.29.2007 4:40pm
Porkchop:
Sorry if this detracts from the serious discussion, but this sounds like a variation on the old travelling salesman/farmer's daughter joke.
3.29.2007 4:42pm
David Chesler (mail) (www):
Day Before rule discussed on Usenet here:
misc.legal.moderated
which references for support the Social Security Administration here.


I've wondered and asked the same thing as blindgambit: Since we've well established in recent decades that sex between husband and wife can be rape if it is not consensual, if 15-year-olds can't consent to having sex, how can they give consent to sex with their husbands? And if they can't, and intramarital sex takes place, why isn't it rape?
3.29.2007 4:50pm
Alan P (mail):
For Social Security see 20 CFR ยง404.2(c)(4)

Attainment of age. An individual attains a given age on the first moment of the day preceding the anniversary of his birth corresponding to such age.
3.29.2007 5:17pm
Colin (mail):
Forgive me if I missed it somewhere in this post and thread, but what is the rationale for the rule?
3.29.2007 5:38pm
John Herbison (mail):
I have always understood that statutes in derogation of the common law must be strictly construed. There appears to be no discussion of this maxim in the Pennsylvania opinion.

Also, I have not researched this matter, but I wonder about application of the ex post facto prohibition. If the common law rule had previously been applicable, wouldn't this prohibition dictate that the change in interpretation be given prospective application only--that is, not applied to the case at bar?
3.29.2007 6:14pm
Richard Gould-Saltman (mail):
Porkchop:

I immediately thought of an old joke too, but I don't remember it being a "travelling salesman". Is your punchline "Well, for the next thirty-five minutes, we're knitting..."?
3.29.2007 6:31pm
Public_Defender (mail):
<i>The law does not apply in favor of a person accused of hurting a child. I thought everyone knew that.</i>

It's called the "Child Sex Allegation Exception to Everything."

There should probably be a Latin phrase for it. What's Latin for "no law shall apply in favor of someone accused of hurting a child"?
3.29.2007 6:44pm
Public_Defender (mail):
Sorry for the double post, but. . . .

Someone else mentioned the Rule of Lenity. Yes, criminal statutes are supposed to be liberally construed in favor of the accused, but I don't think I've seen a single case where the Rule of Lenity made a difference.

The reality is, if you are citing the Rule of Lenity, you're client is in deep trouble.

Finally, this case brings up one important lesson that many of my clients did not learn in time (if they ever learned it): If you have to ask a lawyer or do legal research to figure out whether sex with someone is legal, DON'T HAVE SEX WITH THAT PERSON.
3.29.2007 6:49pm
Porkchop:
Richard G-S:

I didn't have a specific punchline in mind. There are so, so many variations.
3.29.2007 7:08pm
Malvolio:
The reality is, if you are citing the Rule of Lenity, [your] client is in deep trouble.
States v. Thompson-Center Arms Company, 504 U.S. 505 (1992). The defendant shipped a kit for altering a pistol. If all the new parts included in the kit were applied to a single pistol, the result would constitute an "assault weapon". The Supreme Court decided the law was ambiguous and carried criminal penalties, so the Rule of Lenity applied.

Relative to statutory rape, I wonder about time zones and DST...
3.29.2007 7:57pm
Colin (mail):
What's Latin for "no law shall apply in favor of someone accused of hurting a child"?

Caveat molestor.
3.29.2007 8:13pm
Public_Defender (mail):
Or. . . Caveat wrongly accused.
3.29.2007 9:02pm
BruceM (mail) (www):
It's similar to how the Constitution does not apply when drugs are involved, you know, the "drug exception" everyone learns about first day of ConLaw.

The rationale for the common law rule seems pretty clear to me. It's easier to see when talking about a week, which is by definition 7 days. Monday to the following monday is 8 days, not 7. Monday, tues, wed, thurs, fri, sat, sun is 7 days, or a week. January 1 to December 31 is a year. January 1 to the next January 1 is a year and a day. So, since we are celebrating being another YEAR older, it makes perfect sense that you'd celebrate the day before the day on which you were born. Technically you're not celebrating the recurrant day, but the fact of being alive for one more year.

Another way of looking at is is that a year's supply of medicine, which you take daily (i.e. 365 pills), would not last from March 2, 2006 to March 2, 2007. It would last from March 2, 2006 to March 1, 2007. One year.

I can see why, over time, we've decided to just celebrate the day. We're dumb and we're lazy. But celebrating the same day each year is really celebrating being alive for another a year and a day, not another year.

In the modern legal context I've heard some people say the AEDPA one year deadline for filing a habeas in federal court follows this rule, in that a conviction that became final on December 15th, 2005, would require the habeas petition be filed by December 14th, 2006. Fortunately there is a supreme court case where, albeit in dictum, i believe it was Justice Souter says "the defendant's conviction became final on April 1, 2002, so the deadline was April 1, 2003."
3.29.2007 9:18pm
Reflective:
"In the modern legal context I've heard some people say the AEDPA one year deadline for filing a habeas in federal court follows this rule, in that a conviction that became final on December 15th, 2005, would require the habeas petition be filed by December 14th, 2006. Fortunately there is a supreme court case where, albeit in dictum, i believe it was Justice Souter says "the defendant's conviction became final on April 1, 2002, so the deadline was April 1, 2003."

Yes, but Justice Souter was likely just making an April Fool's joke, wry character that he is...
3.29.2007 9:39pm
Aukahe:
BruceM,

Remember to start from zero when counting. It is almost 2007-03-30 01:00 (a Friday). I will be 1 day older at 2007-03-31 01:00, 1 week/7 days older at 2007-03-06 01:00 (next Friday), and 1 year older at 2008-03-30 01:00.
3.29.2007 9:58pm
eric (mail):

What's Latin for "no law shall apply in favor of someone accused of hurting a child"?


Haud lex vadum adicio in ventus of quispiam reus of vulnero a parvulus.

Hmm, at least according to a free internet translator.
3.30.2007 12:00am
Bill Dyer (mail) (www):
There isn't much "birthday law," but there is scads and scads of "day-counting law" — from the procedural context. If respondent's brief is due "30 days after petitioner's brief is filed," then there are undoubtedly rules of procedure (state or federal, as the case may be) that prescribe whether you begin counting on the day of filing or the day after filing, and whether a brief filed a 5:01 o'clock p.m. is considered filed on that same day-date or the following one, and what to do for days that are legal holidays or Sundays, etc.

What's important is that there be bright-line rules, and that they be as consistent as possible. But procedural rules connected with legal filings is a category over which courts have "supervisory authority" beyond that which they ought to have over affairs beyond their sphere; and even with respect to legal filings, sometimes the "deadlines law" is court-made, and sometimes it's legislatively made.

The second comment above, by Nathan M, was probably intended to be a joke: "Damn activist judges!" But I think that's actually on the mark.

Had I been on this appellate court, my vote would have been to stick to the common-law rule, but to vigorously point out — for possible legislative consideration — the likelihood that the common-law rule is very much at odds with universal lay understanding, along with a suggestion that the legislature bring that state's "birthday law" into uniformity for all purposes.
3.30.2007 12:07am
Andy Treese:
The common law rule also applies in Georgia; a former juvenile suspect is an adult at midnight on the day before their seventeenth birthday. See Edmonds v. State, 154 Ga.App. 650, 269 S.E.2d 512 (1980). A subsequent case was present with the issue but was not forced to reach it on the merits. In re R.T.,278 Ga.App. 225, 628 S.E.2d 662 (2006).

As a cop I never would have guessed this to be the case until a training session by a local ADA; I suspect it is rarely, if ever, applied. I had only one occasion to use the rule in ten years, and it was a local juvenile frequent flier whose father is a defense attorney. It's the only time we've ever cited a case in a report, that I'm aware of.
3.30.2007 12:49am
Andy Treese:
er.. correct the last sentence to the last time "we ever cited..." as I'm no longer a cop and wouldn't want to be seen as holding myself out as such. Nitpicky, but important to me.
3.30.2007 12:51am
ReaderY:
"The law is a causeway upon which, so long as he keeps to it, a citizen may walk safely"

....


William Roper: Arrest that man!
Sir Thomas More: On what law?
Margaret More: Father, that man's bad.
Sir Thomas More: There's no law against that.
William Roper: There is: God's law.
Sir Thomas More: Then God can arrest him.
William Roper: So, now you give the Devil the benefit of law!
Sir Thomas More: Yes! What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil?
William Roper: Yes, I'd cut down every law in England to do that!
Sir Thomas More: Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country is planted thick with laws, from coast to coast, Man's laws, not God's! And if you cut them down, and you're just the man to do it, do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then? Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake!

Robert Bolt, A Man For All Seasons
3.30.2007 3:36am
markm (mail):
The rationale for the one day before rule is quite clear. If you were born on January 1, then January 1 is day 1, and Dec 31 is day 365 (assuming it isn't a leap year). Note that this rule gives full credit to partial days. If you're born at one minute to midnight, that's still day 1. Either you count the partial day as one whole day, or you throw out the partial day; neither choice is mathematically preferable.

Perhaps the day-before rule came into the common law under a version of the rule of lenity back when the age of majority was 21; to nearly all 20-year olds, the annoyances of being legally under-age greatly outweighed the alleged advantages, so a rule that made them adult a day earlier was certainly to be preferred.

Incidentally, the one-day-before rule gives an unambiguous and simple answer for the person born on Feb 29 - they become a year older on Feb 28 every year, leap year or not.

IIRC, in China age was traditionally figured quite differently. The newborn baby is "in his first year". On his next birthday, he is in his second year. If you want to begin counting with 1, this makes more sense than the Anglo-American way...
3.30.2007 11:41am
Daryl Herbert (www):
If I was the governor, my first reaction would be "f---, I'm going to have to pardon this creep who quite likely is in fact a rapist"

If you were governor, would you?
3.30.2007 5:56pm
Ron:
As a non-lawyer, I find the argument that 16 doesn't quite mean 16 to a lawyer a foolish artifact, an example of the "lawyer full employment act by confusing the language".

The jury was certainly aware of the exact girl's age and still convicted.

About 25 years ago in California a State Assemblyman successfully used the defense that the law was to protect inexperienced youth and the underage girl he chose did not qualify as inexperienced prior to their relationship. I find that to be a great argument.
3.30.2007 6:19pm
Charlie (Colorado) (mail):


It's a "fenceposting" thing --- on the day before your birthday, you are 365 days older than you were on your last birthday. The actual birthday is 366 days from the last one, as a result of our counting days one-based, and not zero-based.

This screws up beginning programming students all the time.
3.30.2007 6:59pm
michael i:
Once again, a court perverts the principle that a citizen is expected to know the law.
3.30.2007 7:24pm
G-mon (mail):
The "Day Before" rule is simple math:

A calendar year, by definition, is the time BETWEEN the recurrance of two dates.

Something created on Jan 1 is one year old on Dec 31st; by next Jan 1, it is more than one year old.
That lawyers and judges can no longer do math is not surprising; the general population lost the facility decades ago.
3.30.2007 7:42pm
R. G. Newbury (mail):
"I've wondered and asked the same thing as blindgambit: Since we've well established in recent decades that sex between husband and wife can be rape if it is not consensual, if 15-year-olds can't consent to having sex, how can they give consent to sex with their husbands? And if they can't, and intramarital sex takes place, why isn't it rape?"

Well according to a recent Florida case, it *IS* rape. Remember the 2 16 year-olds who took sexually explicit pictures of each other? --> Creating child porn! And IIRC they were prosecuted *as adults* although they were 'children' for the purposes of having their pictures taken.

The DA needs a swift kick in the crotch, and a bot on his home computer which makes *it* dispense kiddy porn.
3.30.2007 8:17pm
nk (mail) (www):
Heh. Any decision that gives a child molester the opportunity for a practical lesson in the difference between consensual sex and non-consensual sex in prison is a good decision.
3.30.2007 10:01pm
David Schwartz (mail):
"A calendar year, by definition, is the time BETWEEN the recurrance of two dates.

Something created on Jan 1 is one year old on Dec 31st; by next Jan 1, it is more than one year old."

Umm, what?! For something created on Jan 1, Dec 31st is just as much between the recurrence of Jan 1's as the preceding Dec 30th is. Every day after the first Jan 1 and before the next Jan 1 is between the recurrence.

This is the common sense rule. The common law rule is quite the opposite.
3.31.2007 2:37am
Public_Defender (mail):
Heh. Any decision that gives a child molester the opportunity for a practical lesson in the difference between consensual sex and non-consensual sex in prison is a good decision.

NK, so you want to use rape as a punishment? That's the kind of thing Saddam did. What do you do if they are later exonorated (which happens sometimes)? Do you unrape them?
3.31.2007 5:51am
GM Roper (www):
To me, it seems pretty simple (or, conversely, I'm pretty simple) but there is a world of difference linguistically between a child who is 16 years old which, by any counting system is the day before the 16th anniversary of her birth and celebrating the anniversary of her birth. I'm not a legal scholar enough to be able to choose, but it seems to me that the law is ambiguous and thus the decision should have gone for the appellant.
3.31.2007 10:35am
David Schwartz:
I'm sorry, why are you 16 years old the day before the 16th anniversary of your both by any counting system? If you are born on December 12, you have completed a full year as soon as you complete a December 11 and it turns December 12 again.

Why does everyone else seem to think this rule is so obviously reasonable?

In order to complete a year, you must complete every day of a year. If you are born January 12th, why do you not have to complete a January 11 to be 1 year old? How can a year have passed without a complete January 11 in it?

What is the logic for the common law rule?
3.31.2007 7:28pm
Public_Defender (mail):
nk, I was too polite in my last post. Only a pervert would wish rape on another human being. You are sick.
4.1.2007 12:32pm