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People v. Ezeonu

Supreme Court of New York
588 N.Y.S.2d 116 (1992)


Facts

Gregory Ezeonu (defendant) was indicted for the rape of a 13-year-old girl. Ezeonu, a Nigerian national, was married at the time of the offense. Ezeonu sought to raise as a defense that he was also married to the young girl at the time of the alleged rape. Ezeonu claimed that Nigerian custom permitted him to take a “second” or “junior” wife given to him by the young girl’s parents in Nigeria. Nigerian law permitted a man to have multiple wives. Ezeonu claimed that if he were lawfully married to the girl at the time of the offenses he could not be held criminally liable for rape.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Fisch, J.)

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