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Commonwealth v. Fischer

Superior Court of Pennsylvania
 721 A.2d 1111 (1998)


Facts

Fischer (defendant), an 18-year-old college freshman, was charged with involuntary deviate sexual intercourse (IDSI) against another female student at the same college. At trial, Fischer and the victim testified that they were in Fischer’s dorm room two hours prior to the incident and engaged in kissing and fondling and eventually sex. Afterward, the pair separated and went to the dining hall to meet their respective friends. Fischer and the victim met up later and were again in Fischer’s dorm room. From that point, the testimony of Fischer and the victim diverged. The victim testified that Fischer locked his dorm room door, pushed her onto his bed, straddled her, held her wrists above her head, and forced his penis into her mouth. The victim testified that she repeatedly told Fischer she did not want to have sex and was only able to get away when she struck him in the groin with her knee. Fischer, on the other hand, testified that as they entered his dorm room, the victim told him she wanted to have a “quick one” and they engaged in the same behavior as during their previous encounter. Fischer admitted to holding her arms above her head, but said that as soon she stated she did not want to have sex, he stopped. When Fischer attempted to go further again, the victim became upset and left the room. Medical personnel testified to treating the victim on the night in question and several of the victim’s friends testified that she looked shaken and upset. Fischer was convicted and he appealed with new counsel, arguing that trial counsel provided ineffective assistance in failing to request a jury charge on the defense of mistake of fact.

Rule of Law

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Issue

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Holding and Reasoning (Beck, J.)

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  • A "yes" or "no" answer to the question framed in the issue section;
  • A summary of the majority or plurality opinion, using the CREAC method; and
  • The procedural disposition (e.g. reversed and remanded, affirmed, etc.).

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