Washington Law Review


In July 1975, riding the crest of the national reform movement, the Washington State legislature enacted a new rape law that repealed a centenarian, common law-based statute. This article presents the results of an empirical study of the effects of the common law and reform rape statutes on prosecution in King County (Seattle), Washington, and assesses the implications of the findings for the law of rape and for prosecutorial discretion in the charging of rape. To the extent that definitional elements of the new Washington law have parallels in reform statutes of other states, and the statistical profile of the incidence and circumstances of the crime in King County is similar to that found in other jurisdictions, the findings and conclusions of this study have broader significance.

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