A California appeals court has overturned the rape conviction of Julio Morales, who was charged with raping an unidentified sleeping woman.
Morales was convicted of rape after he slipped into bed with a sleeping 18-year-old woman and initiated sex with her, pretending to be her boyfriend in 2009, reports LA Weekly.
The unnamed victim and her boyfriend had fallen asleep together after a night of drinking, but the boyfriend left during the night.
Morales, a friend of the 18-year-old victim’s brother, climbed into bed with the woman and began to have sex with her.
The victim thought she was making love with her boyfriend, until a flash of light from the doorway revealed it was actually Morales.
The court's ruling was basing on an 1872 law that states: “Any person who fraudulently obtains the consent of another to sexual relations escapes criminal liability, unless he (or she) … masquerades as the victim’s spouse.”
Morales pretended to be the victim's boyfriend, not her spouse. Had Morales pretended to have been her spouse, he would have been convicted under the 1872 law.
Judge Thomas A. Willhite, Jr. wrote in the court’s decision: “Has the man committed rape? Because of historical anomalies in the law and the statutory definition of rape, the answer is no, even though, if the woman had been married and the man had impersonated her husband, the answer would be yes.”