Law People: Let's do this again. Is a finger an object?

Here is the statute:

A defendant is proven to have penetrated a female’s vagina with his finger. Is he guilty of sexual intrusion?

I say no. An object seems to me to be, first, an inanimate item, not a part of a human being. It further seems to be an item on its own and not the greater part of a whole.

What say ye wanna be legal scholars? Oh, and, this is not about the morality of such a thing. The question for MPIMS is: does a finger (or two or three fingers or even a fist) count as an object?

Missed the edit window: Obviously the crime will be “sexual intrusion” without her consent, because she is underage, because she is mentally unable to consent, because of X, Y, Z. As I re-read the OP, I didn’t mean to give the impression that consensual penetration with an object was a crime.

For the purposes of the “purpose” named in the law you quoted, any matter (in physics terms) is an object.

Unless you mean to say “no, because it was a body part it’s rape and not intrusion”.

In my state, sexual intrusion and “sexual intercourse” are the big baddies (when the above provisions apply). Here is sexual intercourse:

If you are not guilty of the two big baddies, You may be guilty of “sexual contact”:

Clearly a finger is “sexual contact.” Sexual contact is a much less penalty. My guy would like sexual contact and not sexual intrusion. I think it is pretty clear that “sexual intercourse” does not apply.

It’s intrusion because there was a penetrative aspect to it. Penetration using what, is not relevant - except in cases that make your fellow’s situation worse, not better.

(making it worse would be: rape, aggravated assault, etc.)

Yes it is relevant. Read the law. It must be penetration using an “object.”

Perhaps in physics, individual electrons are objects, but in law? I’ve never heard anyone refer to a body part as an “object.”

I just read this again. The “purpose” clause is to make sure the law is only applied to an intentionally degrading or gratifying conduct. A doctor delivering a baby, or a mother applying a suppository to her child are not covered under the law.

Flashback to first year Crim. :eek:
Has “object” been defined elsewhere in the section?

So, if it’s intentionally degrading or intentionally gratifying, AND a [piece of matter according to physics but not a penis in particular] was used penetratively, then it’s intrusion.

Read for meaning, not for lexemes. If you start reading for lexemes, you’re lost.

Parsing more closely than the writer intended you to parse is not careful, not responsible, not wily, just a stupid error.

So, wait. If we come up with a sufficiently persuasive argument that a finger isn’t an object, the guy who did this basically gets away with it?

No thanks. And do your own homework.

I’d look for a different criminal violation that addresses inserting body parts.


The objection seems to be that, if a finger is an object, then so is a penis. Which in turn would mean that every instance of sexual intercourse is also an instance of sexual intrusion*. But is that actually a problem? After all, every instance of murder is also an instance of assault, and that doesn’t cause any difficulties in the law.

*Technically not quite, since “sexual intrusion” also requires that it be for purposes of gratification or humiliation, but it’s quite rare for a penis to be inserted into a vagina for any other purpose.

I ain’t no “law person”, but I know that words sometimes have specialized definitions in law. But if, as stated in #13, there is no specific legal definition of “object” to use here, and we have to rely on normal English usage, then we can look at some dictionaries:

Merriam-Webster: Something material that may be perceived by the senses.
Oxford Dictionaries: A material thing that can be seen and touched.
Cambridge English Dictionary: A thing that you can see or touch but that is not usually a living animal, plant, or person.
MacMillan Dictionary: A thing that you can see and touch that is not alive and is usually solid.

MacMillan gives some support to the OP’s idea that an “object” is by definition is not alive, but none support the notion that it must not be part of a larger object. However this means that in the common phrase “inanimate object”, “inanimate” is redundant. That doesn’t feel right to me. I’d go with the majority of dictionaries and say a finger is an object.

This. No thanks.

I like how a lawyer is intentionally trying to misread the law in favor of sexual assault.

Yup. I find it very unlikely that a modern criminal code would not have a provision covering this act.

What the actual fuck are you talking about? This is a fairly common legal discussion of whether a certain act comes within the ambit of a particular provision of law. Its done thousands of time daily.
And FYI, its a standard in criminal law that ambiguities in a statute are always construed in a manner most favourable to an accused.

Are you billing your client for the hours you wait for us to answer?

1.) If you tell your client that you are developing his defense by crowd-sourcing on a web site, can you record it? I’d love to see his reaction.

2.) You could make the argument that your client was attempting to play kancho and misinterpreted the rules.