There's a criminal scenario I'm writing for a novel.

Let's say I'm a perp and kidnapped a pair of siblings.

I threatened one to rape the other at gunpoint and I had to shoot at his foot to make him comply.

The catch is that rape is the only crime punishable by death in this hypothetical U.S. city. All the other crimes are at worst, life imprisonment.

From what I hear, duress is unacceptable as defence in reality. Is this true?

If so, will the threatened person be guilty of rape? Would I also be guilty of rape since I had threatened him and shot him for not complying.

Also, what are my list of crimes as the perpetrator?


Firstly, there is no jurisdiction in the US where rape is a potentially capital crime, and murder is not - so you are discussing a hypothetical (and rather implausible) jurisdiction. Given your jurisdiction is hypothetical, you can make the law be what you would like.

Secondly, duress is accepted in almost all jurisdictions as a defence to a charge of anything except homicide (and some jurisdictions allow it to reduce the severity of a homicide charge). Courts can be reluctant to accept a charge of duress, but a bullet wound would probably be persuasive.

I don't know if someone who had just been shot would be physically able to perform though.

The precise crimes the perpetrator is guilty of would depend on your specific jurisdiction, but I would expect at least:

  • rape (because they organized it)
  • kidnap
  • shooting the brother
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