Commonwealth v. Sherry

Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts, 1982.

386 Mass. 682, 437 N.E.2d 224.

Dressler, pp. 413-416


Facts: The defendants and the victim were at a party.  The defendants were charged with rape and kidnapping.  They were convicted of rape.


Issue: Should the jury have been instructed as to whether the defendants made a mistake of fact sufficient to excuse their offense?


Rule: The defense of mistake of fact requires such a mistake to be reasonable and in good faith.


Analysis: The court finds that the defendants’ requested jury instructions fail to mention the “good faith” and “reasonableness” requirements.


Conclusion: The conviction was upheld.


Back to Casebook Notes