If you’re a criminal defense lawyer or a prosecutor who likes to interpret other state’s statutes or even just an ordinary person like me who’s fascinated by legal stuff, I have a small challenge for you.
When I was writing the post below on some strange questions of law and morality, I read at Classically Liberal that it’s illegal in Illinois for an 18-year old boy to have sex with a 17-year old girl. That sounded wrong to me, so I checked what Wikipedia and ageofconsent.com have to say, and they both agree that a 17-year old girl can consent to sex.
I was planning to include this correction in my post, but I wanted to link to a more authoritative source, so I went to the online version of the Illinois’s laws. That’s where I hit a snag: It appears that the Illinois Criminal Code has been written by monkeys.
I don’t know what other states are like, but the people who say that ignorance of the law is no excuse have never trield to read the Illinois Compiled Statutes. I mean, really, we’re supposed to understand this stuff so we can obey it, right?
So here’s my challenge: Imagine you’re a young man somewhere between the ages of 15 and 20 living here in Illinois. You have a girlfriend somewhere between the ages of 13 and 18. You both want to have sex, but since you plan to run for office some day, you want to make sure it’s legal.
For what combinations of the age ranges I listed would it be legal to have sex in Illinois? Are there any complications or variations—family, position of authority, etc—that our young lovers should know about?
To get you started, my guess it that you want to look in chapter 720, specifically in the Criminal Code of 1961 in 720 ILCS 5. I believe the answer is in Article 11 (Sex Offenses) or Article 12 (Bodily Harm).
You won’t be graded because I have no idea what the correct answer is. If you try this and come up with one, tell me how long it took you.
(If you’re an actual Illinois criminal defense lawyer with actual knowlege of the right answer, hold off a day or two before posting it in case anyone else actually picks up the challenge.)