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People v. Thompson

530 N.E.2d 839 (1988)

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People v. Thompson

New York Court of Appeals

530 N.E.2d 839 (1988)

Facts

Thompson (defendant) and the victim were both inmates at the Albany County Jail. The victim, a 16-year-old male, had been in the jail less than three weeks, awaiting disposition of charges. The victim occupied a cell in a tier of the jail reserved for unsentenced juveniles. The juvenile tier was separated from the rest of the jail by a set of bars and a locked gate guarded by a correction officer. Adult inmates were prohibited from entering the juvenile tier. Thompson, a 35-year-old male, occupied a cell in one of the adult tiers. Thompson and the victim had spoken on three occasions prior to the incident, twice in the mess hall and once near the weight-lifting room, at which time Thompson demonstrated his strength by lifting the victim over his head. On August 6, 1981, Thompson asked the correction officer on guard that he be permitted to enter the juvenile tier. Thompson was granted access despite the prohibition against adults entering the juvenile tier. Thompson called to the victim through the set of bars separating the juvenile tier and then asked the victim to perform an act of oral sex. When the victim refused, Thompson made a series of threats, stating that he would beat up the victim if he did not perform, that he could get someone else to beat up the victim, even someone on the juvenile tier, and that the beating could take place anywhere and at any time. The victim complied and submitted to various acts of sodomy. Thompson and the victim were separated by the bars during the entire incident. The victim reported the incident to officials. Thompson was indicted and later convicted of first-degree sodomy. Thompson appealed on the grounds that his threats did not rise to the level of forcible compulsion, because the threats were not capable of immediately being carried out.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wachtler, C.J.)

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