State v. Barlow, No. 91-454

Docket NºNo. 91-454
Citation630 A.2d 1299, 160 Vt. 527
Case DateAugust 13, 1993
CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Vermont

Page 1299

630 A.2d 1299
160 Vt. 527
STATE of Vermont
v.
William BARLOW, Jr.
No. 91-454.
Supreme Court of Vermont.
Aug. 13, 1993.

Jeffrey L. Amestoy, Atty. Gen., and David Tartter, Asst. Atty. Gen., Montpelier, for plaintiff-appellee.

Charles Martin of Martin & Paolini, Barre, for defendant-appellant.

Before ALLEN, C.J., and GIBSON, DOOLEY, MORSE and JOHNSON, JJ.

GIBSON, Justice.

Defendant entered a conditional plea of guilty to sexual assault on a minor, commonly known as statutory rape, in violation of 13 V.S.A. § 3252(3) (now 13 V.S.A. § 3252(a)(3)). He appeals on grounds that the statute violates a substantive due process right to privacy under the Vermont Constitution and the right to equal protection under the United States Constitution. We affirm.

Defendant argues that privacy in sexual matters is a natural or fundamental right "implicit in the concept of ordered liberty," Palko v. Connecticut, 302 U.S. 319, 325, 58 S.Ct. 149, 152, 82 L.Ed. 288 (1937), and that this right should be recognized under the Vermont Constitution. He contends that by limiting criminalization to a sexual act [160 Vt. 528] with a "person under the age of 16, except where the persons are married to each other and the sexual act is consensual," 13 V.S.A. § 3252(a)(3), the Legislature recognized that this right extends to persons under the age of sixteen. He also maintains that the statute in effect compels marriage with a would-be sexual partner under the age of sixteen, and that this amounts to a violation of due process because the decision to marry or not to marry is a fundamental right, which cannot be infringed by the state. See Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1, 12, 87 S.Ct. 1817, 1824, 18 L.Ed.2d 1010 (1967). Defendant further contends that the statute violates equal

Page 1300

protection guarantees by treating married and unmarried minors differently with respect to sexual intercourse.

We do not decide whether to recognize a right to privacy in sexual matters under the Vermont Constitution or whether this right extends to minors because, in any event, we conclude that the state has a compelling interest in protecting minors that is served by the statute at issue. Cf. Jones v. State, 619 So.2d 418, 422 (Fla.Dist.Ct.App.1993) (recognizing a fundamental right to privacy for minors but concluding that compelling state interest outweighs the limited burden of waiting until age of majority). The trial court noted that the state has long recognized an obligation to protect its children from others and from themselves. It found that the statutory rape law has many "salutary purposes," citing with approval State v. Munz, 355 N.W.2d 576, 585 (Iowa 1984), which listed the dangers of pregnancy, venereal disease, damage to reproductive organs, the lack of considered consent, heightened vulnerability to physical and psychological harm, and the lack of mature judgment, among the many significant interests of the state. Further, the United States Supreme Court has itself observed that "teenage pregnancies ... have significant social, medical, and economic consequences for both the mother and her child, and the State."...

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7 practice notes
  • In re GT, No. 96-610.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 19 Mayo 2000
    ...for which the 758 A.2d 303 only elements are the age of the "victim" and the presence of a sexual act. See State v. Barlow, 160 Vt. 527, 530, 630 A.2d 1299, 1301 (1993). Thus, under the State's theory, both G.T. and M.N. have necessarily committed the crime, and all consensual sex......
  • Northern Sec. Ins. Co. v. Perron, No. 99-109.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 4 Mayo 2001
    ...under age of sixteen guilty of sexual assault); id. §§ 2822-2823 (proscribing use of child in sexual performance). In State v. Barlow, 160 Vt. 527, 530, 630 A.2d 1299, 1301 (1993), a case that presented a challenge to 13 V.S.A. § 3252, we noted that, underlying criminal statutes that serve ......
  • Owens v. State, No. 129
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • 12 Febrero 1999
    ...have withstood constitutional challenges despite their greater potential to affect noncriminal sexual conduct. See, e.g., State v. Barlow, 160 Vt. 527, 630 A.2d 1299 (Vt.1993)(under age 16); Campbell, 239 Neb. 14, 473 N.W.2d 420 (under age 16); Brooks, 841 F.2d 268 (under age 16); Miller, 3......
  • State v. Hazelton, No. 04-283.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 22 Noviembre 2006
    ...more than a calendar and the person's birth certificate are required to determine the statute's applicability." State v. Barlow, 160 Vt. 527, 530, 630 A.2d 1299, 1301 ¶ 26. While differences between the two crimes may be apparent, they are not real.2 Despite the language in § 3252(a)(1......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
7 cases
  • In re GT, No. 96-610.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 19 Mayo 2000
    ...for which the 758 A.2d 303 only elements are the age of the "victim" and the presence of a sexual act. See State v. Barlow, 160 Vt. 527, 530, 630 A.2d 1299, 1301 (1993). Thus, under the State's theory, both G.T. and M.N. have necessarily committed the crime, and all consensual sex......
  • Northern Sec. Ins. Co. v. Perron, No. 99-109.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 4 Mayo 2001
    ...under age of sixteen guilty of sexual assault); id. §§ 2822-2823 (proscribing use of child in sexual performance). In State v. Barlow, 160 Vt. 527, 530, 630 A.2d 1299, 1301 (1993), a case that presented a challenge to 13 V.S.A. § 3252, we noted that, underlying criminal statutes that serve ......
  • Owens v. State, No. 129
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • 12 Febrero 1999
    ...have withstood constitutional challenges despite their greater potential to affect noncriminal sexual conduct. See, e.g., State v. Barlow, 160 Vt. 527, 630 A.2d 1299 (Vt.1993)(under age 16); Campbell, 239 Neb. 14, 473 N.W.2d 420 (under age 16); Brooks, 841 F.2d 268 (under age 16); Miller, 3......
  • State v. Hazelton, No. 04-283.
    • United States
    • Vermont United States State Supreme Court of Vermont
    • 22 Noviembre 2006
    ...more than a calendar and the person's birth certificate are required to determine the statute's applicability." State v. Barlow, 160 Vt. 527, 530, 630 A.2d 1299, 1301 ¶ 26. While differences between the two crimes may be apparent, they are not real.2 Despite the language in § 3252(a)(1......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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