A student from an elite educational institution in California has been arrested, charged, and convicted of a sexual assault for engaging in a sexual act with an unconscious victim. The defendant was identified by two individuals who witnessed the defendant engaging in the sexual act. The results of the victim’s sexual assault examination at the hospital showed bruising around the neck and genital areas.
Prior to sentencing, the defendant’s family made a point to the court that the defendant’s life should not be ruined by “moments of sexual activity.” While the prosecution recommended a sentence of six years in state prison for the crime, the pre-sentencing report from probation recommended a jail sentence of less than a year of confinement. The judge, an alumnus of the same elite institution, ordered a jail sentence of six months with a lifetime registration as a sex offender.
The victim’s family is not satisfied with the judge’s ruling. As the public representative of the victim’s family, you are asked to compose a memo to be submitted to the Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee regarding the actions and discretionary decisions made by the judge.
California Penal Code Section 261(a)(2-4) states the following:
(a) Rape is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished with a person not the spouse of the perpetrator, under any of the following circumstances:
- Where it is accomplished against a person’s will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another.
- Where a person is prevented from resisting by any intoxicating or anesthetic substance, or any controlled substance, and this condition was known, or reasonably should have been known by the accused.
- Where a person is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act, and this is known to the accused. As used in this paragraph, “unconscious of the nature of the act” means incapable of resisting because the victim meets any one of the following conditions:
- Was unconscious or asleep.
- Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant that the act occurred.
Unless otherwise noted, rape is punishable by imprisonment for 3, 6, or 8 years, as well as a fine not to exceed $70 (to be paid towards AIDS education).
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