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Wednesday, 26 March 2014 15:11

United States, Appellee V. Miles

December 4, 2014 - Motion on behalf of the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom for leave to file a brief as amicus curiae in support of appellant's petitioin for grant of review. 

Clict to open the filed motion

March 26, 2014 – Washington DC. – NCSF has filed an amicus brief in a military case involving a marine who engaged in a consensual threesome and because of that was convicted of adultery, attempted consensual sodomy and indecent conduct, a "crime" based solely on undefined sexual conduct inconsistent with "common propriety."

Click to open Subject Index, Table of Authorities & Amicus Brief

Click to open Miles Motion

Click to open Miles Brief

Click to open Goverment Brief

Click to open Defense Response

Published in CC Legal

NCSF’s Coalition Partners Join Together for Consent Summit

 

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom held its annual Coalition Partner meeting in Phoenix, Arizona from February 8-10, 2013. The Consent Summit took place Friday evening, and Coalition Partners were able to participate via streaming video to give their input on the new Consent Statement. Go to www.ncsfreedom.org to see the Consent Statement and comment on it.

 

“The Consent Statement is now launched to the BDSM-leather-Fetish communities for input until July 1st,” says Judy Guerin, Director of Consent Counts. “This statement outlines the current legal climate in regards to BDSM practices, and describes the ethical responsibilities of kinky people, as well. The Consent Statement will be used to change assault laws so that consensual BDSM won’t be mistaken for assault.”

 

One focus of the weekend was how to move forward now that a fire has destroyed the NCSF office. An emergency fund drive is underway to raise money to replace what was lost in the fire. Please help us reach our goal!

https://www.wepay.com/donations/ncsf-fire-recovery-fund

The new board of directors voted in Kevin Carlson as Chairman, Mark Richards as Secretary, and John Baku as Treasurer. The CPs also heard reports on NCSF projects and some of the stats include:

  • Incident Reporting and Response received nearly 500 calls for help
  • The Kink Aware Professionals list is up to nearly 1,200 professionals
  • The Media Outreach Project gave over 60 interviews
  • Over 600 NCSF Facebook page members and nearly 5,000 twitter followers
  • 98 Coalition Partners!

Friday evening’s Pizza Meet & Greet was sponsored by the AZ TNG, while lunch Saturday was sponsored by FetLife and lunch on Sunday at the APEX BBQ was sponsored by AZ Men of Leather. NCSF thanks APEX for welcoming CP representatives, NCSF board members and staff to their APEX Dungeon Party on Saturday night, and at their Sunday afternoon BBQ and NCSF Meet & Greet. NCSF also thanks Kelly Beaton, Master Bleu Sadist, slave alena girl, and Karen for volunteering and helping out in all sorts of necessary ways at the meeting!

The Board of NCSF currently consists of:

Kevin Carlson – Chairman – Boise, ID

Mark Richards – Secretary – New York, NY

John Baku – Treasurer – Vancouver, BC

Race Bannon – San Francisco, CA

Laura Carlson – Boise, ID

Jim Fleckenstein – Manassas, VA

Leigha Fleming – Fort Worth, TX
Vivienne Kramer – San Diego, CA
Mercury – Nashville, TN

Stephanie "Sassy" Lynn – Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN

Julian Wolf – Albuquerque, NM
Susan Wright – Phoenix, AZ

 

 

NCSF helps you, so please help us in our time of need! Support us by becoming a member or donating today! www.ncsfreedom.org

Published in Press Releases
Wednesday, 19 September 2012 16:22

COMMONWEALTH vs. JOHN CAREY

Indictments found and returned in the Superior Court Department on July 23, 2007.

The cases were tried before Richard E. Welch, III, J.

After review by the Appeals Court, the Supreme Judicial Court granted leave to obtain further appellate review.

James L. Sultan for the defendant.

Kenneth E. Steinfield, Assistant District Attorney, for the Commonwealth.

CORDY, J. Based on an assault that occurred during the evening of June 6, 2007, at a home in Hamilton, a jury in the Superior Court convicted the defendant of attempted murder in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 16; armed home invasion in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 18C; assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 15A (b); and assault and battery in violation of G. L. c. 265, § 13A.(1) A divided panel of the Appeals Court affirmed the convictions, Commonwealth v. Carey, 79 Mass. App. Ct. 587 (2011), and we granted the defendant's application for further appellate review.

On appeal, the defendant contends that the assault constituted a consensual sexual encounter. He thus argues that, in light of the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558, 577-578 (2003) (Lawrence), the trial judge committed constitutional error by not instructing the jury that consent is a defense to the crimes of armed home invasion and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. The defendant also claims that the judge erred by admitting certain evidence regarding materials retrieved from his home computer. This evidence included eight photographs and one ninety-second "video clip" (video), each depicting a nude or partially nude woman being strangled seemingly to death; an Internet article reporting the successful appeal of a man convicted of four strangulation murders; and testimony regarding the number of images stored on the computer "that were strangulation-oriented or had strangulation themes," as well as testimony about Internet searches and the number of files saved on the computer that concerned asphyxiation.

Click to download a PDF of the case.

Published in CC Legal
Monday, 27 February 2012 06:40

Next Chapter for Consent Counts

NCSF Launches the Next Chapter for Consent Counts

February 27, 2012

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) announces two new publications as part of its nationwide campaign, Consent Counts. The Consent Counts Project was launched by the BDSM-leather-fetish communities in 2006 to decriminalize consensual BDSM in U.S. law by ensuring that consent will be recognized as a defense to criminal charges brought under assault laws and other statutes. "For the past 18 months, NCSF's Consent Counts Project has almost exclusively focused on the legal and policy issues surrounding decriminalization of BDSM activities," says Leigha Fleming, NCSF Chairperson. "We have learned that the Consent Counts project also needs to do more to work within our own communities to better understand and articulate what consent is and to better educate about the importance of prior informed and ongoing consent."

NCSF is proud to announce the publication of two new guides "The Aftermath: A guide for victims of sexual assault and/or intimate partner violence in the BDSM community," by Natalie Quintero, and "When the Levee Breaks: A guide to dealing with and avoiding arrest and prosecution in BDSM scenes." "The Aftermath" is a compilation of advice that is regularly provided to victims who ask for help through NCSF's Incident Reporting & Response project. This guide will educate anyone in the BDSM community who has been victimized on what one might expect to experience after an assault, what one's options are, things to consider when weighing options and making decisions on what to do next, what one might expect if one decides to report the experience, as well as the resources available to assist in coping with and healing from abuse.

"When the Levee Breaks" is a companion to the NCSF publication, "The Aftermath," and is a guide to provide a perspective for those who have, through mistake, misunderstanding, or a fleeting lapse of reason, committed an act of criminally actionable sexual assault.  It is not intended to provide a defense for indefensible acts. "When the Levee Breaks" also provides information on how to better protect oneself against arrest and prosecution.

Both guides are now available on the NCSF website: www.ncsfreedom.org/consentcounts.html

You can join the NCSF Consent Counts community at FetLife to talk about these two new NCSF guides online! Join our Consent Counts group www.fetlife.com/consentcounts to discuss issues of consent with kinksters both in the US and around the world."Sexual abuse and intimate partner violence are a real problem in the kinky community. The nature of BDSM greatly increases the importance of having a clear definition for consent when addressing these issues - both inside our community and at the legal and legislative levels," says James Lennon, VP of FetLife. "That's why FetLife has decided to partner with the NCSF on the Consent Counts project. Together, we can make the BDSM community a safer place for everyone."

"The Aftermath" and "When the Levee Breaks" are only a couple of the tools developed by NCSF as part of our Consent Counts Project.  In the coming year, Consent Counts will be presenting continuing legal education (CLE) programs to attorneys, prosecutors and law students, and participating selectively with "friend of the court" briefs in legal cases.To date, the Consent Counts Project has completed a review of the relevant laws in all 50 states and on the Federal level, and has developed educational programs and outreach materials. These resources, including a state-by-state guide of relevant consent related assault laws, the appellate legal cases involving criminal prosecution of BDSM as assault as well as some of legal cases relevant to the alternative sexuality communities have been posted on the NCSF website under Resources,

The final piece of the expanded Consent Counts project will be released by March 15, 2012. To facilitate a community-wide discussion on and about consent, Consent Counts has created a Community Discussion Guide and a survey that groups, munches, individuals and events around the country can use to create a framework for the thoughtful examination of the nuances of consent. 

What do we mean by consent?  When is consent invalidated? Does "safe, sane, consensual" still work as a community creed? Are there behaviors that the BDSM community doesn't accept? FetLife, an NCSF Coalition Partner, is generously providing a space for NCSF to facilitate this discussion within FetLife at https://www.fetlife.com/consentcounts. In addition, the survey will be available online via the NCSF website. Responses will be collected and collated and used to develop a community statement on consent that will be presented at the Leather Leadership Conference (LLC) in Seattle in 2013. For more information, go to https://ncsfreedom.org or contact Judy Guerin, Director, Consent Counts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

NCSF Launches the Next Chapter for Consent Counts

February 27, 2012

The National Coalition for Sexual Freedom (NCSF) announces two new publications as part of its nationwide campaign, Consent Counts. The Consent Counts Project was launched by the BDSM-leather-fetish communities in 2006 to decriminalize consensual BDSM in U.S. law by ensuring that consent will be recognized as a defense to criminal charges brought under assault laws and other statutes. "For the past 18 months, NCSF's Consent Counts Project has almost exclusively focused on the legal and policy issues surrounding decriminalization of BDSM activities," says Leigha Fleming, NCSF Chairperson. "We have learned that the Consent Counts project also needs to do more to work within our own communities to better understand and articulate what consent is and to better educate about the importance of prior informed and ongoing consent."

NCSF is proud to announce the publication of two new guides "The Aftermath: A guide for victims of sexual assault and/or intimate partner violence in the BDSM community," by Natalie Quintero, and "When the Levee Breaks: A guide to dealing with and avoiding arrest and prosecution in BDSM scenes." "The Aftermath" is a compilation of advice that is regularly provided to victims who ask for help through NCSF's Incident Reporting & Response project. This guide will educate anyone in the BDSM community who has been victimized on what one might expect to experience after an assault, what one's options are, things to consider when weighing options and making decisions on what to do next, what one might expect if one decides to report the experience, as well as the resources available to assist in coping with and healing from abuse.

"When the Levee Breaks" is a companion to the NCSF publication, "The Aftermath," and is a guide to provide a perspective for those who have, through mistake, misunderstanding, or a fleeting lapse of reason, committed an act of criminally actionable sexual assault.  It is not intended to provide a defense for indefensible acts. "When the Levee Breaks" also provides information on how to better protect oneself against arrest and prosecution.

Both guides are now available on the NCSF website: www.ncsfreedom.org/consentcounts.html

You can join the NCSF Consent Counts community at FetLife to talk about these two new NCSF guides online! Join our Consent Counts group www.fetlife.com/consentcounts to discuss issues of consent with kinksters both in the US and around the world."Sexual abuse and intimate partner violence are a real problem in the kinky community. The nature of BDSM greatly increases the importance of having a clear definition for consent when addressing these issues - both inside our community and at the legal and legislative levels," says James Lennon, VP of FetLife. "That's why FetLife has decided to partner with the NCSF on the Consent Counts project. Together, we can make the BDSM community a safer place for everyone."

"The Aftermath" and "When the Levee Breaks" are only a couple of the tools developed by NCSF as part of our Consent Counts Project.  In the coming year, Consent Counts will be presenting continuing legal education (CLE) programs to attorneys, prosecutors and law students, and participating selectively with "friend of the court" briefs in legal cases.To date, the Consent Counts Project has completed a review of the relevant laws in all 50 states and on the Federal level, and has developed educational programs and outreach materials. These resources, including a state-by-state guide of relevant consent related assault laws, the appellate legal cases involving criminal prosecution of BDSM as assault as well as some of legal cases relevant to the alternative sexuality communities have been posted on the NCSF website under Resources,

The final piece of the expanded Consent Counts project will be released by March 15, 2012. To facilitate a community-wide discussion on and about consent, Consent Counts has created a Community Discussion Guide and a survey that groups, munches, individuals and events around the country can use to create a framework for the thoughtful examination of the nuances of consent. 

What do we mean by consent?  When is consent invalidated? Does "safe, sane, consensual" still work as a community creed? Are there behaviors that the BDSM community doesn't accept? FetLife, an NCSF Coalition Partner, is generously providing a space for NCSF to facilitate this discussion within FetLife at www.fetlife.com/consentcounts. In addition, the survey will be available online via the NCSF website. Responses will be collected and collated and used to develop a community statement on consent that will be presented at the Leather Leadership Conference (LLC) in Seattle in 2013. For more information, go to www.ncsfreedom.org or contact Judy Guerin, Director, Consent Counts at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Published in Press Releases
Monday, 27 February 2012 02:57

When the Levee Breaks

"When the Levee Breaks: A guide to dealing with and avoiding arrest and prosecution in BDSM scenes." 

"When the Levee Breaks" is a companion to the NCSF publication, "The Aftermath," and is a guide to provide a perspective for those who have, through mistake, misunderstanding, or a fleeting lapse of reason, committed an act of criminally actionable sexual assault.  It is not intended to provide a defense for indefensible acts. "When the Levee Breaks" also provides information on how to better protect oneself against arrest and prosecution.

Click to get a PDF of "When the Levee Breaks"


Monday, 27 February 2012 00:38

In the Aftermath

"The Aftermath: A guide for victims of sexual assault and/or intimate partner violence in the BDSM community,"  by Natalie Quintero

"The Aftermath" is a compilation of advice that is regularly provided to victims who ask for help through NCSF's Incident Reporting & Response project. This guide will educate anyone in the BDSM community who has been victimized on what one might expect to experience after an assault, what one's options are, things to consider when weighing options and making decisions on what to do next, what one might expect if one decides to report the experience, as well as the resources available to assist in coping with and healing from abuse.

Click to get a PDF of "The Aftermath"

Monday, 20 February 2012 00:47

Massachusetts v Appleby

In most BDSM assault cases, the testimony of a complaining witness (the injured person) is central to the case, and often there is conflict on the issue of consent between the defendant and the complaining witness. However, even where both participants agree that the acts in question were consensual, the courts have held that consent cannot be a defense.  Thus, in Commonwealth v. Appleby, a 1980 Massachusetts case, the court said:

“Grimm’s consent to assault and battery upon him by Appleby by means of a dangerous weapon cannot absolve Appleby of the crime…”Commonwealth v. Appleby, 380 Mass.296, 311, 402N.E.2d 1051,1061 (Mass. 1980).

Click to open Massachusetts v Appleby PDF

 

Published in CC Legal
Monday, 20 February 2012 00:30

California v Samuels

An early, and typically bad, example of a pure “consent is no defense” ruling is People v Samuels, a 1967 California decision.  In that case, Martin Samuels was convicted of assault based on his conduct in a film of an apparently consensual BDSM scene.  The court not only rejected the consent defense, but also appeared to hold the view that any such consent would be “some form of mental aberration”:

Even if it be assumed that the victim in the ‘vertical’ film did in fact suffer from some form of mental aberration which compelled him to submit to a beating which was so severe as to constitute an aggravated assault, defendant's conduct in inflicting that beating was no less violative of a penal statute obviously designed to prohibit one human being from severely or mortally injuring another.

People v. Samuels  250 Cal.App.2d 501, 514, 58 Cal.Rptr. 439, 447 (Cal.App. 1967)

The Samuels decision was cited as recently as 2006, in People v Febrissy.

Click to open California v Samuels PDF

 

Published in CC Legal
Thursday, 26 January 2012 22:53

Consent Legal Cases

Legal cases dealing with the consent counts project.

To date, there is not a single appellate court decision anywhere in this country that has accepted consent as a defense in an assault or abuse prosecution arising from BDSM conduct.  The following overview, from Consent to Harm by Vera Bergelson, is a good summary of the case law:

Since any harmful act that does not fit into the “athletic” or “medical” exception is, by definition, criminal, unless the inflicted injury is not serious, assessment of the seriousness of the victim’s injury determines the outcome of many cases involving consensual harm.  A typical penal statute classifies bodily injury as serious if it “creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.”  Pursuant to this definition, any short-term, non-life-threatening injury should not be deemed “serious.”  Yet, as the MPC acknowledges, the assessment of the seriousness of harm is often affected by judges’ “moral judgments about the iniquity of the conduct.”  Courts tend to inflate the risk and harmfulness of an activity they want to denounce.  For example, any injury caused during a sadomasochistic encounter has been consistently classified as serious.

28 Pace Law Review 683, 691

 


Case index, click to view the individual case summary and a PDF of the case. 

California v Samuels , 4/28/1967

 Massachusetts v Appleby , 4/1/1980

 Iowa v Collier, 5/25/1985

 Helton v Indiana , 12/1/1993

 New York v Jovanovic , 12/21/1999

 Lawrence v Texas, 6/26/2003

 Nebraska v Van , 11/12/2004

 California v Febrissy, 7/1/2006

 Govan v Indiana, 9/9/2009

 Rhode Island v Gasper, 10/30/2009

United States, Appellee v Miles  3/24/2014


Law Review Articles, click to open the individual PDF of this article.

Sex Is Not A Sport: Consent And Violence In Criminal Law , 2001-2002

Beyond The Pleasure Principle: The Criminalization Of Consensual Sadomasochistic Sex , 2001-2002

Morality-Based Legislation Is Alive And Well: Why The Law Permits Consent To Body Modification But Not Sadomasochistic Sex , 2006-2007

The Right to Be Hurt: Testing the Boundaries of Consent , Febuary 2007 

Pain, Pleasure, And Consenting Women: Exploring Feminist Responses To S/M and Its Legal Regulation in Canada Through Jelinek's The Piano Teacher , 2007 

Consent to Harm , 2007-2008

Autonomy, Dignity, and Consent to Harm , 1/29/2008

The Moral Limits Of Consent As A Defense In The Criminal Law , 2009 


 
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