“The Good Samaritan” – Adultery

In part 2 of our posts on “The Good Samaritan,” we ask whether George was guilty of adultery when he slept with Robin after he practiced the timeless art of seduction with his alluring: “God bless you.”

After George and Robin actually sleep together, George turns to Robin and cries “what’s wrong? I’ll tell you what’s wrong. I just committed adultery!” Robin calms him, saying “you didn’t commit adultery, I did.”

You didn't commit adultery. I did.

Although morally this may be the case, as far as the State of New York is concerned both the married person and the unmarried person commit adultery when they head below the equator. The New York Penal Law defines the crime of adultery as “when he engages in sexual intercourse with another person at a time when he has a living spouse, or the other person has a living spouse.”

(Lawyer’s note: the fact that the statute says “he” does not mean that women are not included in the law.)

Adultery is a class B misdemeanor, which carries a punishment of up to 3 months in imprisonment or 1 year of probation, and a fine of up to $500. Both parties violate the misdemeanor of adultery when they submit to the kavorka, it is not just the responsibility of the married party to practice the right of first refusal. Both the one cheating on their spouse, and the one that is facilitating that cheating, are strapping on their stockings and pouring themselves a martini.

It's like with stockings and martinis and William Holden and...

There are no two ways about it, both George and Robin are potentially looking at 3 months of fugitive sex for having committed the crime of adultery in the State of New York.

So is George going to jail for his crime in “The Good Samaritan,” years before he actually goes to jail for violating The Good Samaritan Law in “The Finale?” (wow what cosmic irony that is!). Well George could try to defend himself using Robin’s logic that “if I didn’t do it with you, I would have done it with someone else.” Robin was going to commit adultery anyway, so George might as well be the one having sex with the hen. But that is not a legitimate defense to an adultery prosecution. In fact, the Penal Code does list what does count as an affirmative defense to adultery, which is that George would have to have a reasonable belief that Robin was not married before he filled her up like the risotto. This would be impossible for George to prove, since he admits that he had committed adultery, and he knew that Robin was married when they met. Therefore, if Robin’s angry husband Michael really wanted to get back at George, instead of sewing his ass to his face he really should just call and report the crime to the District Attorney’s office. Someone call Jackie Chiles!

2 thoughts on ““The Good Samaritan” – Adultery

  1. In Massachusetts, adultery is a felony that carries up to three years in State Prison. G.L. c.272, §14, I believe, see also Comm. v. Stowell, 389 Mass. 171 (1983) (upholding the statute, yes you read that correctly.) IMHO, George actually has a good New York State constitutional law challenge to the adultery statute. See e.g. People v. Onofre, 51 N.Y.2d 476 (1980). I’d be happy to expand on this further for your blog.

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