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  • United States v. White CalfUnited States v. White Calf
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United States v. White Calf

United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
634 F.3d 453 (2011)


The federal government (plaintiff) prosecuted Roman White Calf (defendant), a 19-year-old, for attempting to commit, and committing, sexual abuse of a minor (sometimes known as "statutory rape"), in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 2243(a). Under § 2243, the victim had to be under 16 years old and at least four years younger than the defendant. White Calf's defense was that he reasonably mistook his victim to be at least 16. The trial evidence established that White Calf held a party at his house, which was on an Indian reservation, and where he met L.R.F., a 13-year-old female. L.R.F.'s 18-year-old aunt, S.R.F., had told L.R.F. to lie about her age, so initially L.R.F. told White Calf that she was 15. White Calf and L.R.F. started kissing, at which point she told him that she was really only 13. White Calf responded that age didn't matter. S.R.F. intervened to break up the couple, and told White Calf that L.R.F. was younger than she told him, and younger than another 14- or 15-year-old girl who was at the party. Everyone at the party became drunk, and the party grew so noisy that someone called the police. A police officer responded, and on entering a bedroom, he discovered White Calf and L.R.F. apparently engaging in sexual intercourse. L.R.F. told the officer she was 16 and White Calf said he thought she was 17. White Calf also told the officer that he had not yet penetrated L.R.F. when the officer arrived. The judge instructed the jury to disregard White Calf's intoxication when deciding if he reasonably mistook L.R.F.'s age, but to consider his intoxication only insofar as it negated White Calf's intent to attempt sexual assault. The jury convicted White Calf. On appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, White Calf contended that the judge committed prejudicial error in instructing the jury on intoxication.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Riley, C.J.)

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