Prosecutors in Tulsa say Oklahoma's Court of Criminal Appeals misfired badly by ruling that the state's forcible sodomy law isn't applicable to intoxicated or unconscious victims, reports UPI. In what Benjamin Fu, Tulsa County assistant DA, calls an "insane" and "dangerous" interpretation of the law, the court noted in its March 24 decision that because of semantics, "forcible sodomy cannot occur where a victim is so intoxicated as to be completely unconscious at the time of the sexual act of oral copulation," Oklahoma Watch reports. In its "unpublished opinion"—which, per the website, means future cases can't cite it—the court added, "We will not, in order to justify prosecution of a person for an offense, enlarge a statute beyond the fair meaning of its language." (The state's rape law does use language protecting those in an intoxicated, unconscious state.)
The defendant in this case was 17 at the time of the 2014 incident, in which he was accused of forcing a heavily intoxicated 16-year-old girl into oral sex. Court records note the girl's blood alcohol content was high enough to be considered severe alcohol poisoning, and witnesses said she was falling in and out of consciousness while being driven home. The defendant says the oral sex was consensual and the victim's idea, even though the girl says she can't remember the event. The defendant's lawyer argued that "you can't substitute force with intoxication under the law" and that the state shouldn't have tried to "rewrite statute and add an element." But Fu says the ruling is "absurd." Victims' "biggest fear is that people they tell the story to won't understand or will judge them," he says. "The Court of Criminal Appeals affirmed that, 5-0."