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People v. Barnes

Supreme Court of California
42 Cal. 3d 284 (1986)


Marsha went to Barnes’s (defendant) house late one night to buy marijuana. Barnes met her outside and she stated that she did not want to come in, but just wanted to pick up the drugs and leave. After a couple of minutes she agreed to come inside his house. The two smoked some of the marijuana and afterwards, Barnes started to hug Marsha and she pushed him away and told him to stop. Barnes continued his advances and Marsha got up and went outside trying to leave. According to Marsha, at this point, Barnes’s behavior changed. He started to yell and curse at her for wanting to leave. Once outside, Barnes acted like the front gate was locked. He continued to yell and several times “reared back” as if he were going to hit her. He told her that he would let her leave through the gate, but he had to go back inside to get his shoes. Marsha followed him, and once inside again, Barnes continued to yell and said that Marsha was about the see his “bad side.” Barnes generally acted like a “psychotic person” and when Marsha tried to leave again, he pushed the door closed in front of her. When he asked her to take her clothes off, she refused, and he responded by saying that she was going to make him angry. At this point, Marsha feared for her safety and felt she would not be allowed to leave so she began to “play along” and eventually engaged in sexual intercourse. Marsha testified that she did so only because she thought that Barnes would become violent if she did not. The trial court convicted Barnes of rape, but the appellate court reversed. The prosecution appealed.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Bird, C.J.)

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