Prosecution of Colombia prof. David Epstein a case of moral outrage?Can it be challenged at the supreme court?


I just read an news article about Colombia professor David Epstein who had a CONSENSUAl sexual relationship with his ADULT daughter. He now faces up to 4 years in prison for incest. For a country like the US that speaks of "freedom" and "liberty and justice for all." I have recently read on Wikipedia that even sodomy was illegal and punishable right up till 2003, when the U.S. Supreme Court in a 6-3 decision in Lawrence v. Texas struck down the Texas same-sex sodomy law (

Many countries, including the EU, Asian countries, South American countries have repealed their incest laws. Have a sexual relationship with a child who is mentally incapable of consent is one thing, but this was clearly a case of two consenting adults who never hurt anyone.

Can this be challenged at the supreme court?

5 Answers

  • 8 years ago
    Favorite Answer

    It could potentially be taken to the supreme court, but I'd seriously doubt it. The lawyer would have to be very clever, but it could be done with enough time and money. I'm sure that Prof. Epstein has plenty of talented attorneys at his fingertips, but the money part might be lacking. What a lot of people on YA don't understand is that you have to have a constitutional argument before you can push a case up to the federal level if you haven't been charged with a federal crime. Even then it's a toss up as to if and when the supreme court will put it on their docket. You have to have a water tight argument, a compelling public interest, and a wide reaching effect for the supreme court to even consider hearing it. While this case may have the first two, it fails the third. Trust me, there aren't that many fathers having consensual affairs with their adult daughters.

    A case like this would affect MAYBE 30 or 40 cases a year. I doubt that the supreme court would waste their time, the case simply doesn't have the requisite breadth of effect. They'd let the State courts and the federal appellate courts handle them.

    If you want to see one of these cases in action, look at what happened between Woody Allen, Mia Farrow, and Soon Yi. "The heart wants what the heart wants." Heh, good one, Woody. And before anyone points it out, yes, I understand that Soon Yi was adopted. But she was still the man's daughter. Daughters are there to be protected, not to be used as a real life **** doll.

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  • 8 years ago

    You know, when I read these two statements, "freedom" and "liberty and justice for all," I honestly started laughing. What world do you live in sir? Even the constitutional amendments are constantly being violated. Look at what happened during Bush's time. If you are in the US you will quickly come to realize that this country has more dumb laws than many other countries in the world. The mere fact that the governments feel they can regulate what goes on in peoples bed rooms between two consenting adults is a shining example of how "freedom" is being bashed in the US. You are right, most countries around the world have now decriminalized incest between consenting adults,,,1773672, Part of the problem in the US is the religious fanatics who see incest as a sin. Most of these people also believe in the "Adam and Eve" theory. Well, if they just think for one second, they would realize that if creationism is true, the only way in which the population could have expanded was by incest. Go figure. After all there are only two people to begin with in the first place.

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  • Mutt
    Lv 7
    8 years ago

    You do understand that this is a STATE charge, not federal, right? So why are you throwing around talk about freedoms in the US when the US government has nothing to do with it?

    Can it be challenged? Yes. It will be a couple years before it gets to the US Supreme Court, if it does at all. It first needs to go through the State courts, then they need to find what is unconstitutional about the law, and then appeal through the federal courts until the Supreme Court decides to hear the case or not. And typically, they only will agree if there is a difference in the rulings in the lower courts. If all the courts uphold the conviction (assuming he is convicted), The Supreme Court is not very likely to hear the case.

    *EDIT* - And in some states, there is no crime for consensual adult incest.

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  • 8 years ago

    Any case may be challenged to the Supreme Court level. One must first appeal the criminal conviction in state court, challenge it all the way to the supreme court in your state, and then begin the federal challenge claiming it violated rights guaranteed under the US constitiution.


    There may be a rational basis for outlawing incest. The risks of inbreeding have been known for years. There may be some morality associated with the incest laws, but I believe the scientific basis of those laws makes them constitutional. Many people dump their disabled children in state care and inbreeding increases the risks of disabled, developmentally delayed children. Perhaps if Mr. Epstein would agree to sterilization, there is no problem with him having sex with his daughter.

    Source(s): common sense
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  • 8 years ago

    Yet most people here WANT the government to regulate marriage and refuse to allow gay marriage?

    I think the problem with these incest cases is that most start when the child is not an adult. I think if they can prove he did not start this until the child was an adult ( although to me creepy) it should not be illegal.

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