Legal cases dealing with the consent counts project.
To date, there is not a single appellate court decision anywhere in this country that has accepted consent as a defense in an assault or abuse prosecution arising from BDSM conduct. The following overview, from Consent to Harm by Vera Bergelson, is a good summary of the case law:
Since any harmful act that does not fit into the “athletic” or “medical” exception is, by definition, criminal, unless the inflicted injury is not serious, assessment of the seriousness of the victim’s injury determines the outcome of many cases involving consensual harm. A typical penal statute classifies bodily injury as serious if it “creates a substantial risk of death or causes serious, permanent disfigurement, or protracted loss or impairment of the function of any bodily member or organ.” Pursuant to this definition, any short-term, non-life-threatening injury should not be deemed “serious.” Yet, as the MPC acknowledges, the assessment of the seriousness of harm is often affected by judges’ “moral judgments about the iniquity of the conduct.” Courts tend to inflate the risk and harmfulness of an activity they want to denounce. For example, any injury caused during a sadomasochistic encounter has been consistently classified as serious.
28 Pace Law Review 683, 691
Case index, click to view the individual case summary and a PDF of the case.
California v Samuels , 4/28/1967
Massachusetts v Appleby , 4/1/1980
Iowa v Collier, 5/25/1985
Helton v Indiana , 12/1/1993
New York v Jovanovic , 12/21/1999
Lawrence v Texas, 6/26/2003
Nebraska v Van , 11/12/2004
California v Febrissy, 7/1/2006
Govan v Indiana, 9/9/2009
Rhode Island v Gasper, 10/30/2009
United States, Appellee v Miles 3/24/2014
COMMONWEALTH vs. JOHN CAREY 7/23/2007
Law Review Articles, click to open the individual PDF of this article.
The Right to Be Hurt: Testing the Boundaries of Consent , Febuary 2007
Consent to Harm , 2007-2008
Autonomy, Dignity, and Consent to Harm , 1/29/2008