Saturday, June 14, 2008

PC 288 Trial

I'm in trial now on a child molest case. That's penal Code § 288. Why defend a child molester? That question assumes he's guilty; the real question is did he do it. In that context my role is to see that he is treated fairly and that his due process rights are respected. Due process means simply that you can't be deprived of your freedom unless you've had notice of the charges against you and a trial by jury. After the alleged victim testified the jury wouldn't look at me anymore. Delusion: confusing the lawyer with his client.

We go into second week on Monday. The penalties have gotten outlandish in this area of the law. My client is accused of having touched a little girl's vagina. If you are over 18 and your victim 10 years or younger, new Penal Code § 288.7(b) says your minimum is 15 to life. Make that life. Sex offenders don't get paroled anymore. If they do, six months before their release date two doctors from the Department of Mental Health examine them to see if they could re-offend. Nobody gets a pass. If you did get a parole date you'd just be transferred to a state mental hospital for 8 years, renewable for life.

One of the reasons why the United States has more people in prison than any other country in the world including China. Home of the Free, Land of the Brave.


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