The Scarlet Letter: New York Woman Charged With Adultery

New York prosecutors have charged a woman with criminal adultery after she was arrested allegedly during a tryst with a man in a public park. Suzanne Corona, 41, is the 13th person charged with adultery in New York since 1972. I have previously written about the unconstitutionality of these laws.

Corona from Batavia, N.Y. allegedly was found on a picnic table near a playground having sex with Justin Amend, 29, at 5 pm. While it is not unknown to have couples going to parks for trysts, such an act at 5 pm near a playground would be pretty shocking. Police say that there were parents and children nearby.

They were charged with public lewdness — a reasonable charge under the circumstances. However, prosecutors tacked on an adultery charge for Corona when they discovered she was married.

When confronted, the couple insisted that they were “just talking.”

Genesee County District Attorney Larry Friedman is pressing the charge despite the fact that it is facially unconstitutional. I have previously written how these morality laws should be removed from the books, particularly after the decision in Lawrence v. Texas. Notably, Corona told officers that her husband was “transgender” and that they no longer had intimate relations. She should challenge the law and I expect that she would prevail. It is shows a distinct lack of prosecutorial judgment to bring such a charge in 2010.

As noted in my prior columns (here and here and here), she is not alone in facing such a charge.

For the full story, click here and here.

35 thoughts on “The Scarlet Letter: New York Woman Charged With Adultery”

  1. So Blouise, I suppose by being catholic, your in-laws, they were in the position of (or as a) missionary a number of times?

  2. The pair allegedly were having sex on a picnic table near a playground in Farrall Park just after 5 p.m. on Friday, according to WHAM 13.

    I just love the name of the TV Station and why was the man not charged with conspiracy to commit adultery if she was charged with the main crime…..just sayin’….

  3. Buckeye


    … No need to wait for a shower. That’s what creeks are for.


    True, but that would be bathing …..

    (My in-laws were also Catholic.)

  4. “— although contract law doesn’t allow for the emotional distress factor that’s likely in the event of adultery. Buckeye’s alternative of a tortuous suit for distress might be a good supplement but I don’t think you can mix and match like that.”

    I don’t think a spouses tryst in the park is even close to a spouse transgendering themselves whilst in a supposed committed relationship, on the emotional distress meter that is. In fact, Ms. Things tryst could well have been an acting out of deep seated anguish and anger at her spouse for denying her the nuptial obligatory stuff, sans picnic table.

  5. Another old song in defense of Ms. Corona as plea to the judge by her counsel. (Well, at least I did not use ‘MacArthur Park’ and the bit about the cake…)

    She was strollin’ through the park one afternoon
    In the merry, merry month of June
    She was taken by surprise by a pair of roughish eyes
    And the fault of her desires were all the guy’s

  6. Blouise

    My Catholic in-laws told me the nuns wouldn’t allow patent leather shoes at their schools for the same reason. Must be something to it. And they were in Michigan!

    No need to wait for a shower. That’s what creeks are for.

    This seems to be a use of the law not to protect, but to punish.

  7. Everything I know about the law has come from watching episodes of Law and Order. Rest assured, my friends, that the addition of the adultery charge was a cunning ploy by the prosecutor to leverage a confession or even to coerce dangerous information about orthogonal crimes intersecting this case. In a myriad of conspiratorial connections and fractally felonious foulness. To the Batcave!

  8. Another example of overcharging by a prosecutor, probably for plea bargaining purposes. Ms. Corona’s “just talking” defense won’t cut it, unless she can convince a jury that she is inarticulate unless she relies upon body language to convey her thoughts, a variation on traditional sign language. At bottom, however, I am convinced that the law is unconstitutional.

  9. If’n Ms Corona’s case goes to trial, I hope hern’ public defender aint a hooked on oldies, sentamental feller. He might over-advocate by sayin’ that the picnick table talk weren’t mo’ than juss sweet nothins’

    By Baby whispers in my ear, ooohh sweet nothins’

  10. Buckeye,

    Some of my neighbors here in Ohio also keep a bar of soap handy by the back door in case of a “summer shower”. We call ’em the clean freaks.

  11. AY,

    Au contraire mon frere!

    In Detroit, Michigan it is illegal to sleep in a bathtub. But in Brooklyn, New York it is only illegal for donkeys to sleep in bathtubs.

    Whereas in Ohio:

    Women are forbidden from wearing patent leather shoes, lest men see reflections of their underwear. … and … AND:

    It is illegal to get a fish drunk.

    But the best law of all is in New York where:

    Women may go topless in public, providing it is not being used as a business.
    (The New York City Transit Authority has ruled that women can ride the city subways topless. New York law dictates that if a man can be somewhere without a shirt, a woman gets the same right. The decision came after arrests of women testing the ordinance on the subways. A transit police spokesman said they would comply with the new rule, but “if they were violating any other rules, like sitting on a subway bench topless smoking a cigarette, then we would take action.” Smoking is not allowed in the subways.)

  12. “When confronted, the couple insisted that they were “just talking.”’


    Well, sum folks is very animated a’talkin’ whilst flailing they arms n’ legs n’ other parts ’bout.

    A more subtle, whisperin’ type of love talk whilst parkin’ n’ sparkin’ on benches n’ public is noted in this late 50s early 60s tune by several artists, including the great Bobby Vee:

  13. I don’t know about Illinois, but here in Ohio we get the wood stove going in the kitchen, heat the water, pull the blinds and do our bathing on Saturday night. Then we’re ready for Sunday.

    It must not be against the law, ’cause everybody does it and no one has been arrested so far. Of course that could be because the police are also bathing then.

  14. They were “just talking.” That must have been quite a heated conversation!

    Why not just stone Ms. Corona in the public park!


  15. As I mentioned last time, there are two potential justifications I can think of for an adultery law, post-Lawrence. First, that there is an unwilling participant in the act: the cheated-upon spouse. Second, that an oath presented to and depended upon by the government has been broken.

    But even at its strongest, such a law should require said spouse to press charges before the government steps in. (The oath portion is trickier, and it’s here that I think Turley might have it right when he promotes disconnecting marriage from the law entirely. Then it’s REALLY not the government’s business whether the union collapses down the road because someone can’t keep his or her pants on.)

    I also grant Appleton’s point from last time that treating the matter as a contract breach is an alternative — although contract law doesn’t allow for the emotional distress factor that’s likely in the event of adultery. Buckeye’s alternative of a tortuous suit for distress might be a good supplement but I don’t think you can mix and match like that.

  16. oh puhleeeeeeze!

    I know, don’t take these things off the books until EVERY politician has been perse…uhm, i mean prosecuted for their indiscretions.

    And what did the injured party…her husband the transgendarme have to say about it?

  17. Let men tremble to win the hand of woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart! Else it may be their miserable fortune, when some mightier touch than their own may have awakened all her sensibilities, to be reproached even for the calm content, the marble image of happiness, which they will have imposed upon her as the warm reality.

    ~Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter, Chapter XV “Hester and Pearl”

    A bit idealistic, but seemingly apropos. Either way, the writing is worth reading again and again.

  18. Blouise that only applies in Ohio and Illinois and it is still against the law (unless modified) to take a bath from September to April, unless in a heated area more than once a month. This law could have been modified as some people were attempting to get stupid ones off of the book.

    I wonder how Michael Cox’s the Attorney General of Michigan was able to escape Prosecution for Adultery?

  19. “criminal adultery”?

    Now, if the accused had bathed more than once during the week and if the bath had been drawn on any days other than Saturday, they can probably lock her up for life.

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