In this episode of Reasonably Speaking, NYU Law’s Erin Murphy and UC Irvine Law’s Ken Simons explore the difference between criminal law and tort law in the United States and then focus on how “consent” is, and should be, defined in sexual assault allegations.

From start to finish, criminal and tort cases differ in many ways, including how a case is initiated, in which court it is heard and decided, standards of proof, and the consequence if the defendant is found liable (punishment if defendant is convicted of a crime; payment of money damages if defendant is liable for a tort). Some cases [or fact patterns] qualify as both crimes and torts. These differences are especially evident in sexual assault claims where a single legal term, such as “consent,” may be defined quite differently, depending on the type of legal claim asserted.

Erin E. Murphy

Associate Reporter, Model Penal Code: Sexual Assault

Erin E. Murphy is a Professor of Law at NYU Law.  Her research focuses on technology and forensic evidence in the criminal justice system. She is a nationally recognized expert in forensic DNA typing, and her work has been cited multiple times by the Supreme Court.

Kenneth W. Simons

Reporter, Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Intentional Torts to Persons

Kenneth W. Simons is a leading scholar of tort law, criminal law, and law and philosophy. He has published influential scholarship concerning assumption of risk and contributory negligence; the nature and role of mental states in criminal, tort and constitutional law; and negligence as a moral and legal concept. He has published influential scholarship concerning assumption of risk and contributory negligence; the nature and role of mental states in criminal, tort and constitutional law; and negligence as a moral and legal concept. Professor Simons was a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and to Judge James L. Oakes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

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