C.R. v. M.T., 248 N.J. 428 (2021)


CJ Griffin represented the New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault and Partners for Women and Justice as amici curiae in a case addressing the standard that applies when determining whether a sexual act was “nonconsensual” for the issuance of a restraining order under the Sexual Assault Survivor Protection Act (SASPA). The Appellate Division applied the “prostration of faculties” standard, which is used when criminal defendants argue that they were too intoxicated to have the required state of mind for specific-intent crimes.

We argued before the New Jersey Supreme Court that the Appellate Division’s prostration of faculties standard was inappropriate for an SASPA proceeding because a sexual assault victim seeking a protection order is not seeking to escape liability for wrongdoing, but rather is seeking protection. We further argued that any standard that creates an analogy between a victim seeking a protection order and a defendant who is presenting a defense to escape criminal liability is harmful to victims and would be extremely difficult for victims to prove. We asked the Court to apply the standard from its landmark decision in State in Interest of M.T.S., 129 N.J. 422 (1992), which requires a showing that sexual activity occurred without the alleged victim’s freely and affirmatively given permission to engage in that sexual activity.

In a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court rejected the use of the prostration of faculties standard in cases where an alleged victim of sexual assault is seeking protection under SASPA. The decision established affirmative consent as the standard in sexual assault cases under SASPA by requiring that the defendant demonstrate that permission to engage in sexual activity with the alleged victim was “freely and affirmatively” given.

Our firm is proud of the results it has achieved for clients, some of which are noted here.  Of course, each legal matter is unique on many levels, and past successes are not a guarantee of results in any other pending or future matters.


Jump to Page

By using this site, you agree to our updated Privacy Policy and our Terms of Use