State v. Lynch, No. 87882-0 (Sept. 19, 2013)

The WA Supreme Court affirmed its reasoning in State v. Coristine, 300 P.3d 400, 177 Wn.2d 370, (2013) in a case with similar facts.

Lynch was charged with second degree rape and indecent liberties.  His defense was that the state could not prove its case, but over his objection, the trial court allowed a jury instruction on the affirmative defense of consent.  The jury instruction on consent shifted the burden of proof to Lynch.  It provided that he must prove the sexual contact was consensual by a preponderance of the evidence.  He was convicted of both charges.

The Washington Supreme Court found its recent decision in Coristine dispositive.  Like Coristine, Lynch objected to the affirmative defense because he did not want the burden of proof.  He simply attempted to cast doubt on one element of the State’s case – the forcible compulsion – not create an affirmative defense.

The WA Supreme Court held that the State violated Lynch’s 6th amendment right to autonomy in his defense when it imposed an unwanted defense.