Sign up for our daily briefing

Make your busy days simpler with Axios AM/PM. Catch up on what's new and why it matters in just 5 minutes.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on the day's biggest business stories

Subscribe to Axios Closer for insights into the day’s business news and trends and why they matter

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Stay on top of the latest market trends

Subscribe to Axios Markets for the latest market trends and economic insights. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sports news worthy of your time

Binge on the stats and stories that drive the sports world with Axios Sports. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tech news worthy of your time

Get our smart take on technology from the Valley and D.C. with Axios Login. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Get the inside stories

Get an insider's guide to the new White House with Axios Sneak Peek. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Denver news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Des Moines news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Twin Cities news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Twin Cities

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Tampa Bay news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa Bay

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Want a daily digest of the top Charlotte news?

Get a daily digest of the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Charlotte

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Sign up for Axios NW Arkansas

Stay up-to-date on the most important and interesting stories affecting NW Arkansas, authored by local reporters

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minnesota Supreme Court Justice Paul Thissen said the initial third-degree criminal sexual conduct ruling did not count in this case. Photo: Marlin Levison/Star Tribune via Getty Images

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Wednesday ruled that a man who had sex with a woman while she was passed out on his couch cannot be found guilty of felony rape because the victim got herself drunk beforehand.

The big picture: Minnesota is one of the many states that says that for a victim to be too mentally incapacitated to give consent, they must have become intoxicated against their will, such as if a person secretly drugged someone's drink, The Washington Post reports.

Context: Francios Momolu Khalil in 2017 picked up a woman from a Minneapolis bar and took her back to his home. The woman "blacked out" on Khalil's couch and woke up to find him allegedly sexually assaulting her, per The Post.

  • A jury in 2019 convicted Khalil of third-degree criminal sexual conduct. His lawyers appealed the decision saying that the charge was not applicable because that statute applies when the victim took drugs or alcohol without their consent, while the woman in this case had taken five vodka shots herself prior to meeting Khalil.
  • If a person is convicted of the third-degree charge, they could face up to 15 years in prison, pay a fine of no more than $30,000, or both.

The state Supreme Court overturned the conviction and gave Khalil a new trial, arguing that the prosecution's explanation of the charge "unreasonably strains and stretches the plain text of the statute," state Justice Paul Thissen wrote, per the Duluth News Tribune.

  • The court said that Khalil could be charged with fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a gross misdemeanor. If convicted, he would face up to one year in prison, a fine of no more than $3,000 or both.

Worth noting: The Minnesota House of Representatives is currently considering a bill that would change the language of the third-degree criminal sexual conduct statute, the Duluth News Tribune reports.

  • It would make it a crime to have sex with someone who is too incapacitated to give consent, regardless of how they got to that state.

Our thought bubble, via Axios’ Torey Van Oot: Expect lawmakers in the divided Legislature to face growing public pressure to fix the statute before they adjourn in May.

Editor's note: This story and headline have been updated to clarify that the accused cannot be charged with felony rape.

Go deeper

John Hinckley, who shot Reagan, wins unconditional release

John Hinckley Jr. sitting on the back seat of a car in 1981. Photo: Bettmann / Getty Images

A federal judge on Monday approved the unconditional release of John Hinckley Jr., who tried to assassinate former President Reagan in 1981.

State of play: U.S. District Court Judge Paul L. Friedman in Washington ruled that Hinckley can be freed from all court supervision in 2022 if he remains mentally stable and continues to follow rules that were imposed on him after he was released from a Washington mental health facility in 2016 to live in Virginia, AP reports.

Rep. Karen Bass launches run for Los Angeles mayor

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Karen Bass (D-Calif.) on Monday launched her bid for mayor of Los Angeles.

Why it matters: Bass is a high-profile member of Congress. The former chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, she was considered as a potential running mate to President Joe Biden and was a lead negotiator in the recently-ended talks on police reform. Should Bass win the mayoral election, she would become the first female mayor in L.A. history.

Biden administration takes steps to "fortify" DACA

People attend a protest supporting DACA in New York, Aug. 17. Photo: Kena Betancur/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration on Monday took additional steps to save the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program despite ongoing legal challenges to the program.

Driving the news: The Department of Homeland Security unveiled a proposed rule designed "to preserve and fortify" DACA, which offers protection from deportation for undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children. The rule is set to formally publish on Tuesday and would give the public two months to submit comments in favor of or against the Obama-era policy.