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Upstate NY Woman Criminally Charged For Committing Adultery

MPMM Law - Saturday, June 26, 2010

If You Cheat On Your Spouse Could You Face Criminal Charges In New York?

It is a story that has been reported by ABC News, The New York Daily News, and even papers in Europe (Link).

Police in upstate Batavia, New York found 41-year-old Suzanne M. Corona and 29-year-old Justin Amend engaged in a burst of passion on a table in Farrall Park at about 5:15 p.m. on Friday afternoon June 4, 2010.

After being observed engaging in sexual intercourse on a picnic table in the public park, both Ms. Corona and Mr. Amend were charged with public lewdness.

The public lewdness charge was not much of a surprise.

The second charge levied against Mrs. Corona, a married woman, was more unusual.

Mrs. Corona was also criminally charged with adultery, becoming one of a small handful people in New York State history to face the charge.

"It's a charge that all of our officers are aware of, but we don't come across it very often," Officer Eric Hill, a Batavia police spokesman, told the Democrat and Chronicle. "It's not very often you have people engaging in sexual activity in a park in broad daylight. This particular circumstance met all the criteria for the charge."

Only about 12 other people have been charged with the crime in nearly 40 years, according to experts.

Adultery and public lewdness are both misdemeanors, punishable by up to 90 days in jail or a $500 fine.

Section 255.17 of the New York State Penal Law criminally prohibits adultery, providing, “A person is guilty of adultery when he engages in sexual intercourse with another person at a time when he has a living spouse, or the other person has a living spouse. Adultery is a class B misdemeanor.” A class B misdemeanor is punishable by up to 90 days in jail or a $500 fine.

A copy of the court papers detailing the charges are available here.

Given that prosecutors who are trying to jail murderers, rapists, robbers and drunk drivers seem to have little interest in prosecuting most married folks with girlfriends or boyfriends on the side, one doubts that such prosecutions would become a new trend; however, the law remains on the books in New York.

The choice of a picnic table in a public park on a Friday afternoon in broad daylight was undoubtedly not the most prudent location for these lovebirds to express their extreme, non-marital fondness for one another.

In addition to criminal charges, you have to wonder if they got splinters, too.