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State v. Elton

Utah Supreme Court
680 P.2d 727 (1984)


Facts

Don Elton (defendant) was a 19-year-old man who had sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old girl. The State of Utah (plaintiff) charged Elton with statutory rape, which is a felony when the victim is more than three years younger than the defendant. Elton argued that the victim told him she was 18 years old and that he was mistaken as to her age. The trial court determined that the crime was a strict-liability offense and that a mistake as to the victim’s age could not be a defense. The trial court ruled that Elton could not testify regarding his belief about the victim’s age. The jury convicted Elton of felony statutory rape. Elton appealed. The Utah Supreme Court initially affirmed the conviction. Elton petitioned for a rehearing, which was granted.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Stewart, J.)

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