A recent decision in the California Court of Appeal confirms that a defendant’s sexual preference is not a valid determination of motive to commit child molest. The defendant, Leticia Garcia, was charged with sexually abusing a minor girl. Garcia, a housekeeper and nanny, was accused of molesting her employer’s daughter. During closing argument, the prosecutor claimed that Garcia’s sexual interest towards women gave her a motive to sexually abuse the alleged victim.
How Did The California Court Of Appeal Rule?
After review of Garcia’s argument on appeal, the Court of Appeal found that the Garcia’s sexual orientation was not relevant to any issue in this case. The Fourth District Court of Appeal noted that the prosecutor was incorrect in arguing that Garcia’s sexual preference was a motive for allegedly molesting the victim.
“[B]y linking appellant’s sexual orientation to the issue of motive, the prosecutor essentially told the jury the reason appellant chose to victimize is because she is gay,” Justice Bedsworth wrote. “We have grown beyond that notion. … California courts have long recognized that a defendant’s sexual attraction to adults of the same sex has nothing to do with whether they are sexually attracted to children of the same sex.”
Previous Court Rulings Regarding Sexual Orientation As Motive To Commit Child Molest
Almost 60 years ago, in the case of People v. Giani (145 Cal.App.2d 539), a California appeals court overturned a conviction in which the prosecutor introduced a man’s homosexuality to convict him of molesting a young boy. The court ruled that using such evidence was as absurd as saying a man’s heterosexuality proves him guilty of raping a woman. The appeals court also stated that the notion of gays or lesbians being more prone than others to molest children of the same sex has been discredited by researchers. A similar argument was rejected by another California appellate court in 1956.
The Orange County prosecutor’s argument that defendant’s motive was that she was a lesbian, “attracted to females” of any age, was both scientifically unfounded and prejudicial, according to the appeals court. As a result, the California Court of Appeal overturned the woman’s conviction and 16 year prison sentence.
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This court ruling serves as another great victory in the fight for equal rights. The California Court of Appeal made the right decision by validating previous rulings regarding this issue. If a defendant accused of child molest is homosexual, prosecutors cannot use his or her sexual orientation against them in court to prove the defendant’s motive to commit the crime.
If you or a loved one is facing child molestation charges, it is critical that you speak to an experienced sex crimes attorney today. At Wallin & Klarich, our attorneys have over 30 years of experience successfully defending our clients accused of child molestation. Our attorneys will fight to get you the best possible outcome in your case, so that your rights are protected.
With offices in Los Angeles, Sherman Oaks, Torrance, Tustin, San Diego, Riverside, San Bernardino, Ventura, West Covina and Victorville, there is an experienced Wallin & Klarich Southern California criminal defense attorney near you no matter where you are located.
Call us today at (877) 4-NO-JAIL or (877) 466-5245 for a free phone consultation. We will get through this together.