Criminal Law, Pages 374–375

Rusk v. State (2)

Court of Appeals of Maryland, 1981
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Rusk v. State (1)

Procedural History:

  • See:

    Rusk v. State (1)

  • Court of Special Appeals reversed defendant's rape conviction.



Rusk v. State (1)


Did defendant use sufficient force or threat of force to constitute rape?


The Court of Special Appeals substituted its own view of the evidence for that of the judge and jury. The jury obviously believed the victim's testimony over the defendant's and concluded, quite reasonably, that defendant intended to immobilize the victim alone at night in an unfamiliar neighborhood. The victim refused but relented to defendant's firm commands out of fear. Her question in the apartment shows that she was scared for her life and only submitted to the act after he agreed to not kill her if she did. Whether persuasion constitutes force is a factual issue to be decided by the jury, which here it did so in the affirmative. Threats do not have to be made in any particular manner, nor does a victim have to scream for help or attempt to escape.


Defendant used sufficient threat of force and actual force to satisfy that element of rape. Reversed and remanded for the conviction of second degree rape to be affirmed.

See Also:

  • Rusk v. State (2)
  • Rusk v. State (1)