Wake Up and Smell the Starbucks Coffee: How Doe v. Starbucks Confirms the End of 'The Age of Consent' in California and Perhaps Beyond
Jennifer Ann Drobac
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law
February 15, 2012
Boston College Journal of Law & Social Justice, Vol. 33, Forthcoming
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Research Paper No. 2013-06
Since 2005, California civil courts have effectively abandoned the “age of consent” set by former California statutory rape law and, arguably, encoded in current penal code sex crime provisions. In declaring that California civil law may credit a child’s consent to sex with an adult, courts conflate or confuse legal consent, capacity, and acquiescence. Now that California federal antidiscrimination cases have followed this trend to treat minors more like fully mature adults, the chances increase that other states will adopt these dangerous precedents. This Article analyzes both California and United States Supreme Court cases to conclude that a strict liability civil law approach to juvenile acquiescence to sex with an adult would better serve developing teenagers. Brief exploration of adolescent assent, a new mechanism based in traditional contract law for dealing with the decisions of maturing teenagers also justifies review of the current approaches in California and across the nation.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 47
Keywords: teenagers, consent, statutory rape, capacity, sexual harassment
Date posted: June 2, 2012 ; Last revised: February 20, 2013
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