People v. Boggs – Case Brief Summary (California)

In People v. Boggs (1930) 107 Cal.App. 492, there was evidence the victim was "of subnormal mentality." (Id. at p. 493.)

Expert witnesses testified the victim had the mind of a 10 or 12 year old child. She could do housework and cook. She attended high school but one of her teachers testified that she had to repeat his class, and he gave her the minimum passing grade to let her go on, even though she did not earn it. (Id. at p. 493.)

One expert testified that the victim did not have " 'sufficient mentality to protect herself from the ordinary vicissitudes of life.' " (Id. at p. 494.)

The victim testified at trial and showed "considerable intelligence in fixing dates and describing places and events," and she understood what sexual intercourse was and that it could result in pregnancy. (Ibid.)

As the court explained, however, her understanding "was essentially that of a child," and she did not understand that sexual intercourse could have "other serious consequences." (Ibid.)

Boggs concluded such facts provided substantial evidence the victim was incapable of giving legal consent. (Id. at p. 496.)