May 02, 2018
A Pennsylvania court has ruled that identical twin brothers shouldn't have been charged with the statutory rape of a 14-year-old because they were born about 14 hours too late for the law to apply.
In February 2017, Travis and Trevor Price were sentenced to six to 23 months imprisonment in York County for statutory sexual assault, charged with assaulting the same person on separate occasions in the summer of 2012. At the time of both incidents, the brothers were 18, while the alleged victim was 14.
Pennsylvania law states that statutory rape occurs when the victim is younger than 16 and when the offender is four years older than the victim.
Travis and Trevor Price were born at 6:50 p.m. and 7 p.m., respectively, on May 5, 1994. The alleged victim was born at 8:16 a.m. on May 5, 1998. The Price brothers both argued that actually they were born three years, 364 days and about 10 hours before the alleged victim — 14 hours short of making the defendants four years older than the person police said had been assaulted.
The trial court ruled that this was a "distinction without difference," also ruling that when accounting for the leap year, the difference of 1,461 days between birthdays amounted to four years.
A three-judge panel on Pennsylvania's Superior Court disagreed with the trial court, ruling on the side of the Price brothers in a decision filed Wednesday. Judge Paula Francisco Ott wrote in the panel's opinion that the Pennsylvania legislature had not explicitly defined "four years older."
"By using only days, the trial court ignored the fact that based on the exact date and time of birth of the victim and the Price brothers, they were not four years older than the victim. Rather, they were 14 hours short of that requirement," Ott wrote.
The Price brothers' sentences were vacated as part of the panel's decision.