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Sex Assault on International Flight Case Fractures Ninth Circuit

Nov. 27, 2020, 8:02 PM

A man convicted of sexually assaulting a college student on an overnight flight between Tokyo and Los Angeles had his conviction reaffirmed by the Ninth Circuit, which on Friday issued a lengthy amended opinion highlighting the judges’ disagreements over the mental state necessary to sustain a conviction under the Sexual Abuse Act of 1986.

The judges’ disagreement centered on the statute’s use of the word “knowingly” and whether it extends to the phrase “without that other person’s permission.” In the amended majority opinion, Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw said the jury that convicted Juan Price was properly instructed that it could...

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