Rape Attorney

Sex Crimes & Statute of Limitations – Yet Another Blow to Judicial Limits (CA Senate Bill 813)

Sex crimes and statute of limitations – yet another blow to judicial limits

On September 28, Governor Brown signed into law a provision that eliminates the Statute of Limitations for certain sex offenses (CA Senate Bill 813).  Currently, the statute of limitations is governed by CA Penal Code 803.  For the most part, the statute of limitations is either 10 years and can be as long as 10 years from the alleged victim’s 18th birthday.

The new bill would eliminate a statute of limitations for rape (CA Penal Code 261), sodomy, and lewd or lascivious acts (CA Penal Code 288).  The only other crime that has no statute of limitations currently is murder.

Obviously, proponents of the new law cite the need for victims to get justice.  What they failed to consider is that there is a good reason for the statute of limitations.  Victims of crime in general deserve vindication but there is no effort to eliminate the statute of limitations for all crimes.  This is so because a criminal conviction requires fresh memory and an availability of defense witnesses.  Such is the case for theft cases and such is the case for sex cases.  Perhaps someone should ask governor brown how he would find a witness for an incident that occurred 20 years ago, that could alter the course of someone’s life 20 years later.  If this questions is posed, perhaps he won’t be so quick to assuage every political pressure put upon him.

Track Coach at Novato High School Accused of Sex with Teen (CA Penal Code 261.5)

A 17-year-old recent graduate of Novato High School has accused her track and field coach (64) of having had a sexual relationship with her whilst she was in school.  This case came to the attention of local law enforcement officials due to sexual text messages that the alleged victim’s mother found on her daughter’s cellular phone.  The accused has been arrested on charges of statutory rape and on several different charges, including sexual penetration of a minor, oral copulation with a minor, communicating with a minor child for the express purpose of committing a sex offense, arranging a meeting with a minor for sexual purposes, and actually meeting with a minor with the intent of having sexual relations.

California Penal Code 261.5 addresses the crime of illegal sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18, more commonly referred to as ‘statutory rape.’  This violation of the law is said to be committed when an adult (someone over the age of 18) engages in any type of sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18.  There need not be any force involved in ‘statutory rape,’ there need only be the actual sex act in order for prosecutors to successfully convict.  Even minors can be charged with statutory rape, though this is not often done.  What this means is that anyone who is the sexual partner of a person under the age of 18 who has sexual intercourse could be charged with rape, even though the sex was entirely consensual.

In California, a conviction for statutory rape comes with dire consequences.  It is, in fact, a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that prosecutors assigned to the case must determine whether they will pursue the case as a misdemeanor or a felony.  Usually, the age difference between the minor and the adult involved is the key determining factor, the smaller the age difference, the less chance there is of being charged with a felony.  However, in situations in which the alleged offender is at least 21 years old (3 years older than the supposed victim), there is a great likelihood that he or she will spend up to 4 years in state prison.

 

48-Year-Old Charged with Statutory Rape in Oakland (CA Penal Code 261.5)

A 48-year-old man currently stands accused of having sexually attacked and sodomized a young boy, 10 years of age.  Apparently, the young boy was walking alone near the 1100 block of 98th Avenue when a strange man lured him away from his route.  The boy described his assailant as dirty, having facial hair, and wearing a ball cap.  After the assault, the boy managed to get away and back to his parents, who he immediately informed of the incident.  A composite sketch was instrumental in the arrest and charge of statutory rape.

One of the most serious offenses that a person can commit in the state of California is having sex with a child.  It is considered among the most heinous crimes that individuals commit and is, therefore, not taken lightly.  Better known as ‘statutory rape’ law, California Penal Code 261.5 is violated if intercourse is had with anyone under the age of 18.  If the child is under the age of 10, different, and more severe, penalties apply.  Even if the victim is a willing participant in the intercourse, statutory rape laws will still apply.

In the above case, it is clear that the child in question was on the cusp of two different sets of penalties, as he is exactly 10 years of age.  Though technically a ‘wobbler’ (meaning that it could be treated either as a misdemeanor or as a felony, depending on the choice of the particular prosecutor and the facts of the specific case), cases involving children this young are usually treated as felonies.  It also means being subject to CA Penal Code 288 (Lewd Acts with a Child), which carries its own penalties, including registration as a sex offender.  All in all, the perpetrator of the above crime will likely spend up to 8 years in state prison and pay hefty fines.

Woman Placed on Sex Registry Without Knowledge (CA Penal Code 290)

When a woman from Blue Grass, Iowa decided to help a family in need, she never would have believed that it would lead to the trouble that it did.  Evidently, a young man and his parents posted that they were stuck at a local chain store and needed assistance.  As the Blue Grass woman was a member of the same pet rescue group on Facebook, she didn’t think twice about allowing the small family to stay with her for the evening, clean up, and then go on their merry way.  It wasn’t until a relative tried to reach the needy family’s son that the Blue Grass woman found that her address had been used by the son to register with Iowa’s sex offender registry (CA Penal Code 290).  The case has brought up several different issues, including that of privacy and problematic issues with sex offender registries as a method of curtailing illegal behavior toward children.

While the debate has raged in Iowa about whether or not sex offender registry laws are strict enough, California citizens might ask whether their state’s similar laws are so strict.  It is, in fact, the California Department of Justice that keeps track of sex offenders for the state.  There are forms to fill out and information, like their address, phone number, etc., must be filled out each and every year.  What’s more is that anyone on the sex offender registry must make sure that, if they have changed addresses, they inform their probation officer or other law enforcement officials of their whereabouts.  The trouble is that the registrable sex offenses in California range from more serious and violent crime such as rape charges (CA Penal Code 261)  to pandering to urinating in public and it is clear that not every offender must be watched at all times.  Nonetheless, the stigma attached to having your name on the sex offender registry is oftentimes enough to keep you from getting a job, renting a particular apartment, or buying the house that you want, even if someone else used your address!

 

Antioch Minor Charged with Rape of Delivery Driver (CA Penal Code 261)

There are many ways in which law enforcement officials investigate crimes and catch those who they believe to have committed them.  However, sometimes criminals make it easy, too easy on the police.  Such was the recent case of a 17-year-old boy in Contra Costa County who was wearing a GEP ankle bracelet when he allegedly kidnapped, robbed, and sexually assaulted a 22-year-old Antioch Domino’s pizza delivery woman.

The juvenile stands accused of having stopped the woman while she was attempting to deliver a pizza to a home on Bluebell Circle just before noon on a Sunday.  Allegedly, he threated the woman with a gun, forced her to get into her car and drive with him to another, more secluded spot.  There, the woman says, he raped and sodomized her in addition to digitally penetrating her and forcing her to participate in acts such as oral copulation.  He has been charged with felony counts of all the aforementioned crimes.

The supposed acts of this young man fall into several different categories of California law.  The kidnapping charge (CA Penal Code 207-209.5) always considered a felony, could mean up to 8 years in state prison; the robbery charge may come with a 5-9 year sentence in prison (CA Penal Code 211); being charged with rape (CA Penal Code 261) could end with up to 8 years in state prison; finally, the felony sexual assault charge (CA Penal Code 243.4) could mean that a convicted person would spend up to 4 years in state prison and a $10,000 fine.  It is true that the boy is still technically a juvenile and the penalties listed here are for adults.  This will factor heavily into the case as will the fact that  he was already on probation, as evidenced by the GPS anklet he was wearing, which the victim noticed and police were able to locate easily.

Former Stanford Student Accused of Rape (CA Penal Code 261)

You may already be familiar with this story: how one of Stanford’s favorite sons of the swim team has been accused of raping a young woman at a party on campus.  The incident occurred last month when, in the early hours of the morning, 2 male graduate students were biking by a fraternity party when they noticed something they thought was strange, a man appeared to be having sex with a woman on the ground, in between a garbage can and a tree.  Perhaps they would have continued on and looked the other way, but the grad students believed that the woman was unconscious at the time and so stopped, restrained her alleged attacker, and waited for local law enforcement officials to arrive.  It is important to note that the young woman was taken to a hospital, where she remained unconscious for a number of hours before awakening to find that she did not remember most of the evening.  Her would-be attacker maintains his innocence, claiming that their interaction was completely consensual and that he was also intoxicated at the time of the occurrence.  The former member of the Stanford swim team has pled not guilty to 5 felony counts of rape.

California, as many other states, defines rape as any sexual intercourse that is not consensual; this includes, of course, times when an individual is not conscious and, thereby, is not able to consent (CA Penal Code 261). In fact, it is important to note that any rape charge in California is considered to be a felony and a conviction for such a crime has serious consequences.  For example, the young man mentioned above could spend up to 10 years in prison for having had sex with an unconscious woman if convicted.  Others may find themselves spending up to 8 years in state prison, paying a $10,000 fine, and a strike on their record.

 

Two Vanderbilt University Students Convicted of Rape (CA Penal Code 261)

No matter where you reside, rape is considered a serious offense.  In far too many cases, however, victims of rape are discouraged from going after their attackers because of misplaced shame and an inability to prove what has happened to them.  In a case that has the potential for far-reaching legal consequences when it comes to how rape is treated, especially on college campuses throughout the United States, 2 football players from Vanderbilt University were convicted of the gang-rape of a young woman while she lay unconscious.  Two other players were involved, but have not yet been to trial.  All the men involved claim that they were too drunk at the time of the incident to understand what they were actually participating in.

According to the U.S. Justice Department, rapes on college campuses are highly underreported, only approximately 80% of rapes are actually reported to the authorities.  However, because the assailants used a cellular phone to record the occurrence, it made it impossible for them to be considered innocent, especially as the court was able to hear laughter in the background while the rape was occurring.  Additionally, the video showed that the victim remained unconscious throughout.

While the Vandy players are looking at a hefty sentence for their crimes in Tennessee, nothing much different would have happened had the rape happened in California (CA Penal Code 261).  Here, rape is defined as any non-consensual sex that involves the use of trickery, threats, or some type of force, including a situation in which the victim is so drunk that they have passed out.  Although it is true that there exist cases of false accusation of rape, allegations are still taken seriously by prosecutors.  Rape is always a felony in California.  Anyone convicted of this crime could find himself or herself facing up to 8 years in state prison (or more if the victim has sustained serious physical injuries) and responsible for a $10,000 fine.

 

San Francisco Man Charged with Rape of a Minor Child(CA Penal Code 261.5)

Although Sacramento is usually considered to be a hotbed of human trafficking activity, it was San Francisco that appeared recently in the news when a 27-year-old man (name withheld to protect the accused) was arrested for his part in the rape and trafficking of several minors in the Bay area.  The accused pled not guilty to 16 different charges of felony sex crimes related to minors.  According to local law enforcement officials, his victims were two young girls, one, age 14 and the other aged 16 years.  Included in the charged are 2 counts of human trafficking and 10 counts of the rape of a minor child.

The most immediate question concerning this case is the difference between misdemeanor rape of a minor and a felony charge of the same.  California Penal Code 261.5 defines the rape of a minor child as unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under the age of 18.  If the person who is allegedly raped is under the age of 18 and the perpetrator is less than 3 years older (or younger), then this violation of the law is normally considered a misdemeanor and conviction will likely mean only 1 year in county jail.  However, a felony charge of the same kind is more than likely to end in a much harsher sentence, 15 years to life.  Technically, however, this law is a ‘wobbler,’ meaning that it is up to prosecutors to determine whether or not the violation is serious enough to be considered a felony, or on the other hand, whether it is to be treated as a misdemeanor.

 

Increased Reporting of Sex Crimes in UC System Shows Positive Change (CA Penal Code 261)

Amongst those people who work with rape victims (CA Penal Code 261), especially on college campuses, annual sex crime incidents are kind of a joke.  Whereas they may have heard about several dozen questionable incidences, law enforcement officials had heard about none.  The reason for this, many say, is the difficulty that victims of sexual crimes have had reporting in the past.  Now that reporting has been made easier, the UC system is excited that there has been a 50% raise in reported sexual crimes on California campuses.

However, this does not mean that these types of crimes are occurring more often, just that they are being reported more frequently.  This is a good thing, considering that this increase just barely represents the tip of the iceberg.  In other words, though this reported number is significantly higher, there are most likely many more victims who have not yet come forward and perhaps never will.  What is important is that more victims feel as if they are comfortable reporting their experiences so that something may be done.

This is all on the back of the “Yes means yes” “affirmative consent “ law that has just been signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown.  Accordingly, dealing with campus sexual assault on college campuses in California will be forever changed.  It remains to be seen, therefore, how these new laws and policies will affect attitudes toward sexual assault and its reporting.

 

New Nail Polish will Detect Date Rape Drugs Discreetly (CA Penal Code 261)

While their product is not for sale as of yet, Undercover Colors has already caused a media stir.  It’s no secret that the problem of rape, especially with the use of date rape drugs such as GHB (“G-juice”) and Rohypnol (“roofies”).  This new clear nail polish would change color in the presence of such drugs.  The idea is that anyone could wear this nail polish, dip it in their drink, and check to see whether someone has added something they shouldn’t have.  Creating such a product has not been without its challenges, however.  Detractors say that these preventatives, while innovative and interesting, only address a solution, not the root of the problem.  Critics also claim that the new polish assumes that rape only happens in certain circumstances, like at bars, clubs, and parties, and only through the use of these drugs.  However, many others contend that it’s a step in the right direction as far as self-defense is concerned and that the product will prove more useful than not.

According to California law, ‘date rape’ is defined as any non-consensual intercourse between persons who are dating or otherwise spending a lot of time together (CA Penal Code 261).  One aspect that the courts take into account in date rape cases is the alleged victim’s consent when it comes to intoxication.  In other words, involuntary intoxication (as in being ‘drugged’) definitely counts as rape by California standards.  However, even voluntary intoxication (when the accuser has not been forced to drink, but does so willingly) can be considered date rape when, for example, they are too drunk or otherwise intoxicated to give their consent.  As you can see, the main issue is one of consent, which is typical in most rape cases.  Rape is always considered a felony in California and, if convicted of rape, a person could spend up to 8 years in state prison and have to register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.