Cultural Defense Accepted as to Nonconsensual Sex in New Jersey Trial Court, Rejected on Appeal

In a domestic violence case involving a Muslim couple living in New Jersey, a Judge found that the defendant did not act with a criminal intent when he repeatedly insisted upon intercourse, despite plaintiff’s contrary wishes: the defendant had told his wife “this is according to our religion, you are my wife, I c[an] do anything to you, the woman, she should submit and do anything I ask her to do”: the Appellate Court overturned the Judge’s ruling, writing: “the judge determined to except defendant from the operation of the State’s statutes as the result of his religious beliefs” adding, “in doing so, the judge was mistaken”.