Supreme Court (February 11, 2010)
Aggravated rape by joint enterprise is a crime that requires "the united act of two or more individuals." Therefore, the rule of consistency requires the reversal of an aggravated rape conviction when the only other defendant was acquitted of the same charge.
The defendant and another were tried together for various sex crimes. The jury found the defendant guilty of three crimes, including aggravated rape; while the other was found guilty only of assault and battery. The defendant appealed his aggravated rape conviction, arguing that it must be reversed because the charge rested on the crime's commission by "joint enterprise," and the sole other participant was acquitted.
The SJC applied the narrow rule of consistency, and determined that the Commonwealth was required to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the rape was committed by at least two people. Given the acquittal of the only other defendant, the inconsistent verdicts necessitated the reversal of the defendant's conviction for aggravated rape.