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Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

California has peeping tom laws that protect the privacy of the public. The laws are found under Penal Code 647 (i) and (j) — peeking while loitering and invasion of privacy. If you are charged and convicted for either of these crimes you could be facing jail time and expensive fines. The details of your charges will determine how severe your penalties will be.

To protect yourself and your freedoms when you have been charged with peeping tom crimes in California, connect with David M. Boertje, a California criminal defense attorney who has handled thousands of criminal cases. Our legal team can provide you with a defense strategy to improve your chances of having your case dismissed, to help you obtain a not guilty verdict, have your charges reduced, or obtain a favorable plea bargain.

What are California’s Peeping Tom Laws?

Penal Code 647 (i) defines peeking while loitering, which basically makes it illegal for a person to be on private property and look at individuals who inhabit the property. If you are looking in someone’s window or watching a person in their home through their doorway, you could be arrested for peeking while loitering. When you are on another person’s property without their permission and you are watching them, you will be arrested if you are found out. Even if you are caught lingering on someone’s property and looking into the structure on that property and no one is home, you can still be arrested and charged.

Under Penal Code 647 (j), or invasion of privacy, there are ways that a person can spy on others that are illegal. Engaging in any of the following actions will result in an arrest if you are caught:

  • Making use of equipment to keep watch on a person such as would be the case with binoculars;
  • Putting a camera under someone’s clothes without their permission and taking a picture or a video to appease a sexual need; and/or
  • Using equipment to make a recording or to take a picture of a person while they are in a private space to see their body or their underwear.

Both forms of peeping tom activities are considered misdemeanors and jail time can be as long as six months. Fines can be as high as $1,000. If a person is arrested for peeping tom activities on a minor or if a person is arrested more than once for these unlawful activities jail time increases to up to one year and fines are also raised to $2,000. 

There is also the option of a judge providing for probation in lieu of serving time in jail. When this happens, many times the defendant must pay restitution to their victim, provide for regular progress reports to the court, or a combination of both. It is imperative that the defendant follows the orders of the court to keep probation because if they violate the conditions of their probation the judge will cancel this option and instead the defendant will go to jail. Continue reading

In an effort to minimize the prison population in California and better manage the associated costs, more inmates may be eligible for early parole. Included in this population are nonviolent sex offenders, according to a ruling by the California Supreme Court. The ballot measure, which was approved four years ago, was aimed at non-violent felons. The measure did not include language excluding sex offenders who were charged with non-violent felonies.

While former Gov. Jerry Brown has been an outspoken backer of the initiative, he said that he was not in favor of the measure including those convicted of sex crimes. The lower appeals court ruled that the way the initiative was written, it plainly includes all non-violent felonies including those convicted of sex crimes. When the ruling by the lower appeals court went to the high court, the ruling was upheld.

As a result of the ruling, 20,000 inmates may have the opportunity to gain early parole. Of those 20,000 inmates impacted by the initiative, approximately 50% are individuals serving their time for sex offenses and the other 50% had a previous sex crime conviction but were presently serving time for another crime such as burglary. These numbers were reported by Janice Bellucci the executive director of the Alliance for Constitutional Sex Offense Laws. The courts indicated that the actual number of inmates who would be eligible for consideration would come to just over 4,000.

Bellucci says this ruling by the lower appeals court and which was maintained by the California Supreme Court is “a significant victory” for individuals convicted of sex crimes in California. Even though the ruling allows for sex offenders to gain consideration for parole, that does not mean a parole board will permit early release for these individuals. Ultimately, the parole board has a wide capacity for which they can determine who is paroled and who is not.

What Legal Defenses Can be Used When Charged With a Sex Crime in California?

When you have been arrested and charged for a sex crime in California, the penalties are high. The stigma of just a sex crime accusation follows a person forever and will negatively affect their life, even when there is no conviction. A conviction has even deeper implications for a person’s ability to sustain to return to a normal life after serving their time. 

It is best to have the most strategic and resourceful California criminal defense attorney representing you when you are arrested and charged with a sex crime. Possible legal defense approaches could include:

  • The alleged victim consented to the act.
  • The alleged victim falsely accused the defendant of committing the act.

Continue reading

Have you been arrested and charged with lewd conduct in San Diego? If you are convicted of lewd conduct in the public sphere in California, you are subject to penalty under California’s Penal Code 647(a). The state characterizes the following actions as lewd conduct under the law:

  • Unwanted touching of other individuals’ genitals or “private parts” in an offensive or aggressive manner or for sexual pleasure.

If you are arrested and eventually convicted of engaging in lewd conduct in the state of California, do not wait to connect with a San Diego criminal defense attorney who can effectively fight the charges against you. David M. Boertje is a San Diego sexual offense attorney who will provide you with the best most proactive and aggressive criminal defense services possible. Sexual crimes do not just come with steep fines and jail time; the stigma that surrounds them can follow you around for your entire life and destroy personal relationships with loved ones as well as preclude you from being able to obtain gainful employment and many more negative life outcomes.

How Can You Fight California Sexual Offense Charges?

It can be an uphill battle fighting California sexual offense charges and clearing your name from the shame and dishonor that could shroud your reputation. You will need to work with a California criminal defense attorney who knows the law, is resourceful, and will provide you with the strongest criminal defense strategy possible. Without a strong defense, lewd conduct, which is a misdemeanor, can come with the following penalties:

  • A sentence of as much as six months in county jail
  • Fines as high as $1,000
  • Both jail time and fines

You may be to avoid jail time and instead only serve probation with the right attorney fighting on your behalf and preserving your legal rights. If you are able to secure probation, you must follow the requirements of the court. Some or a combination of the following actions may be required to avoid jail time while you are under court supervision:

  • Therapy and counseling
  • Community service
  • Adhering to a restraining order and keeping appropriate distance and terminating communication with a victim 
  • Paying restitution

Lewd conduct in California does not require the defendant to become a registered sex offender, which is good news, but if you are convicted, it will be listed in your criminal record. The prosecution arguing the case against you must show evidence that you did willfully engage in lewd conduct for your own personal gratification or to annoy another party in the public or in a location that anyone in the public could see, and that you knew of the people present when you did the act, and that all parties were offended. Continue reading

A 38-year old man was arrested and put in jail on suspicion of attempting to sexually assault a woman. The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department indicated that the incident allegedly occurred during the daytime at approximately 10:30 a.m. at the Poway Community Park on Civic Center Drive. The man was identified as Ryan Joseph Rasmussen. According to reports, Rasmussen grabbed a female victim from behind and aggressively pulled her to the ground where he tried to sexually assault her. 

Sheriff’s Lt. Chad Boudreau said that a nearby witness heard the woman scream and then saw the incident take place. The witness then pulled the suspect off of the woman. The suspect fled the area on a bicycle and was gone before the police arrived at the scene.

Rasmussen was eventually arrested by detectives “without incident” on suspicion of assault with the intent to commit rape. He was booked into San Diego Central Jail on Monday night, March 30 at approximately 10:30 p.m. He is currently being held in the jail and has a tentative arraignment scheduled for April 6.

How Does the Law Respond to Sexual Assault in California?

There were over 31,000 sexual assault victims between 2011 and 2012 in California that received medical treatment in a rape crisis center. It is believed that close to 9 million people have been victimized by some type of sexual violence in the state. It is likely that there could be many more individuals who have been victimized by sexual violence in the state who are not reflected in the statistics. The reason for this is it is difficult to get accurate statistics regarding sexual violence crimes because they often go unreported. While women are the most affected by this violence, men are also victims. Approximately one-third of reported sexual assault cases in the state of California have male victims.

The Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) is San Diego County’s specialized force that responds to sexual assaults in the community. The team includes a nurse examiner who has specialized training to collect evidence and provide medical assistance. There is also an officer who investigates the assaults in addition to being an emergency response resource. Last, a victim advocate helps the victim with emotional support and supplies helpful information.

If you are convicted of sexual assault in California you are facing upwards of 48 months in prison with a fine that can be as high as $10,000.  Continue reading

In California and throughout the nation, the collection of DNA is a huge undertaking. All 50 states are required to collect DNA evidence from suspects, with some occurring at the arrest, prior to getting a conviction. Several types of DNA evidence exist in society today. DNA swabbing is one of the most common. DNA swabbing is a type of DNA used to collect evidence from the suspect of a sexual offense, such as rape. For purposes of this article, we will focus on DNA swabbing, the techniques of swabbing, and problems that exist in San Diego County.

What is DNA Swabbing?

A DNA swab, or what is technically known as a buccal swab, is the process by which cells are collected from the cheek of the mouth using a cotton-tipped applicator. Many people refer to DNA swab as a cheek swab.

According to Puritan Medical Products, there are three techniques of DNA swabbing:

  • Touch DNA swabbing
  • Double touch DNA swabbing
  • Blood and fluid swabbing

Puritan Medical Products also lays out the steps of DNA swabbing:

  • Preparation
  • Swabbing for cells
  • Preservation of cells for transport

After learning about the techniques of DNA swabbing and the steps it takes to complete DNA swabbing, you may be surprised to hear that San Diego County is facing its own problems when it comes to DNA swabbing and testing of rape kits.

San Diego Faces Problems With Rape Kit Policies

San Diego County is currently facing a problem with the incomplete testing of DNA rape kits. The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) admits to not having the capacity to test all untested rape kits in their possession while handling daily duties, according to an article in the Voice of San Diego.  

SDPD was testing only a single swab from untested rape kits. This was the procedure specifically reserved for circumstances where the DA declined to prosecute, according to a report by 10 News San Diego.

Although San Diego is making plans to resolve these problems, this just reiterates the fact that DNA swabbing is not always effective. Ineffective DNA swabbing is what lands an innocent person in jail.

DNA Swabbing is Not Always Effective

Regardless of the steps taken to preserve the evidence, DNA swabbing is not always effective in crime investigations.  DNA swabbing can be faulty and a technician’s error in handling the evidence happens often.

Because of the ineffectiveness of DNA evidence, this is where a knowledgeable San Diego criminal defense attorney can create a cloud of reasonable doubt surrounding the evidence. Continue reading

Three teenage friends, two girls and one boy, regularly shared videos by group text message to each other on their mobile devices. Through the bond of their friendship, there was an unspoken assumption that whatever was shared among them would remain private. There was an element to their video sharing practice of trying to outdo each other with each video posted and shared. This assumption was put to the test when one sensitive video did not stay among them.

The 16-year-old maker and sender of the video made a sexually explicit video of herself and sent it to the other teens on the group chat chain. The male teen, 17 at the time, shared a copy of the video with his school resource officer from the county sheriff’s office. The other female teen, who was 16 at the time, shared the video with other students. Before long, the video was widely distributed throughout the school. The maker of the video remained home from school for 30 days unwilling to return to school because of the backlash she was experiencing from the other students.

The only person charged with a crime for this incident, in juvenile court, was the 16-year-old maker and sender of the video. Possession and distribution of child pornography is a crime in the teen’s jurisdiction, the State of Maryland. It is also a crime in California.

Self-produced child pornography is a touchy subject. While on the one hand, the teen in this case was immature and an argument can be made that she did not appreciate the consequences of making a sexually explicit video of herself, she consented to sharing the video with her friends because she made the post herself and released it to them. She did not, however, consent to its release to the entire student body. On the other hand, child pornography is the trade of videos and photographs which depict children engaging in sexual acts. Outside of the school, this video may be on someone else’s electronic device and as such, it is being used to exploit children. The only way to combat its use is by banning possession of it strictly, as would be the case in almost all U.S. states.   Continue reading

For the last two weeks the owner of the New England Patriots football team has been the subject of many jokes and conjecture in regards to his sex life following his recent arrest and charge for solicitation of prostitutes in Jupiter, Florida. As many as 300 people are expected to be arrested in the latest law enforcement crackdown of sex trafficking in massage parlors in that region. Kraft faces two counts of soliciting another to commit prostitution, which are misdemeanor charges allegedly based on two separate visits to the Orchids of Asia Day Spa.

The massage parlor at the center of the Kraft investigation, the Orchids of Asia Day Spa, was shut down along with nine other massage parlor businesses in Florida. The massage parlors are accused of running a prostitution service out of their stores. These massage parlors are often located in strip malls and advertise half an hour to an hour massages for a fee. Instead of a massage, however, sexual acts are performed by the workers.

Women were also arrested during this crackdown. The women were identified as sex workers or victims of sex trafficking. The sex trafficking victims are new arrivals to the United States. They are recruited in their hometowns overseas or in the U.S. immediately after their arrival under false pretenses of a legitimate job. Once here, however, they are forced to become sex workers against their will.

Sex Trafficking in San Diego

The weekend before the Super Bowl, the FBI made splashy headlines around the nation when they announced the arrest of 139 people in the greater Atlanta Georgia area for soliciting sex from prostitutes. The Florida and Georgia stings may seem remote, but San Diego conducts such stings regularly. In January 2018, 29 people were arrested for soliciting sex during a sex trafficking sting operation here in California. The FBI lists San Diego as one of the 13 highest sex trafficking areas in the country.

Massage parlors are part of many sting operations because they are a common place at which these types of activities occur. An investigation published by WNBC San Diego in November of 2018 found that 243 massage parlors in San Diego offered sex acts to clients as a service. The practice is so rampant, that a subscription-based website was created to provide reviews and pricing of the services members received. Continue reading

Prostitution is illegal in the majority of states in America, including California. Often referred to as the “world’s oldest profession,” at its most simple definition, prostitution is the exchange of sex for money. People are divided as to whether prostitution is a victimless crime, as sex workers often endure serious physical, financial, drug, and sexual abuse. Others, especially in states that permit prostitution, like Nevada, argue that it is a job like any other.

California’s Prostitution Laws

Prostitution is the exchange of sex for money or other form of payment. California laws define prostitution as a lewd act requiring physical contact of a sexual nature, sexual conduct, or sexual intercourse between two people. The sex worker is often the person charged with prostitution crimes.

California’s Solicitation Laws

Solicitation is an offer to pay money for sex. The john or client is often the person charged with solicitation crimes.

California’s Pandering Laws

Pandering is the act of arranging a sex act between a sex worker and client for a fee or cut of the amount charged. The panderer is called a pimp or madame and is often charged with pandering crimes.

Defenses to Prostitution Charges

Law enforcement agencies throughout the country set up sting operations to round up prostitutes and their clients. Every couple of months numerous arrests for prostitution and solicitation charges make the media, with over a dozen people arrested in a sting. Individuals charged with prostitution often rely on the defense of entrapment by an undercover police officer if their arrests were part of a sting operation by law enforcement officials.

Minors can no longer be charged with prostitution crimes with the passage of SB 1322, which decriminalized prostitution for individuals under 18. These individuals are instead referred to child welfare services.

Charged With a Prostitution Crime in California?

Prostitution and solicitation crimes are considered nuisance crimes, that lower the standards of a community. They make a big splash because prominent people often get arrested for solicitation. While jail sentences tend to be short, many times the sex workers themselves are repeat offenders, and their penalties increase with each arrest. Pandering charges tend to be felonies and carry long jail terms. If you face prostitution, solicitation, or pandering charges in California, consult a qualified San Diego Criminal Defense Attorney who can help mitigate the penalties. Continue reading

Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation modernizing California’s sex offender registry, allowing potentially thousands of current sex offenders to be removed from the publicly accessible list beginning in 2021. The measure was introduced by Los Angeles District Attorney who noted that the registry, with over 105,000 names, has become so large and all-encompassing that it undermines the registry’s intended purpose – to assist in investigating and prosecuting new sex crimes. The current registry requires law enforcement to spend “hours on paperwork for annual evaluations of every offender,” according to the Los Angeles Times. Considering that one out of every 400 Californians is on the sex offender registry at this point, that amounts to a lot of wasted resources.

As one of the only four states in the country that require lifetime registration for a sex crime, the database includes offenders who have not offended in decades and pose no risk to the public – but still occupy hours of law enforcement agents’ time every year and swell the sex offender registry to the point of uselessness. For example, back in the 1960s and 1970s, police commonly raided public parks to arrest gay men having consensual sex. Gay rights activists have long protested these individuals being listed next to criminals who harm children.

The new sex offender registry will be much more focused on public safety, according to Gov. Jerry Brown’s office. For the lowest-level offenses, such as urinating in public, a person may petition the court to be removed from the sex offender registry within 10 years of committing the offense. A judge will assess each case individually, with the input of the District Attorney. After 20 years, individuals convicted of more serious crimes will have the opportunity to petition the judge to have their name removed from the registry. These crimes may include rape by deception and lewd and lascivious behavior with a child under 14, according to the newspaper. In any case, the name will only be removed if the person has gone the entire period of time without reoffending.

Under the new law, the sex offender registry will also identify sex offenders by their level of risk. Sex offenders accused of Tier 1 crimes, which include misdemeanor sex crimes or non-violent felony sex crimes, will be able to have their name removed from the sex offender registry as long as they do not re-offend during that time. Sex offenders accused of Tier 2 crimes, which include violent or serious felonies, will be removed from the database after going 20 years without reoffending. Sex offenders in Tier 3 are repeat offenders, predators who have committed sex crimes against children, or participated in the sex trafficking of minors. All Tier 3 sex offenders will spend their entire lifetime on the sex offender registry. Continue reading

A San Diego sheriff’s deputy is under criminal investigation, as three additional women now have come forward with legal claims alleging that he improperly groped them under his color of authority. Deputy Richard Fischer has been placed on administrative leave while Sheriff Bill Gore and investigators conduct separate internal and criminal probes of the accusations. It is reported that 10 women have accused Fischer of sexual misconduct.

The county of San Diego now faces one filed lawsuit and two legal claims, which are required to be filed in advance of civil litigation as a result of the allegations. The accusations, one of which dates back two years, could cost the county millions of dollars in legal settlements. All three women are being represented by San Diego attorney Dan Gilleon. According to Gilleon, the three victims spoke out after being inspired by each other.

The latest allegation comes from a San Marcos woman, whose claim was filed on behalf of her by attorney Gilleon. According to this claim, the deputy hugged her without consent and grabbed her buttocks. According to the claim, Dep. Fischer tried to kiss her. The claim seeks more than $6 million, plus “punitive damages against Dep. Fischer in an amount sufficient to punish him and his evil conduct, and to deter others from doing what he did.” It also references another lawsuit filed earlier this month, resulting from a groping incident in 2015.

Three of the women said in a joint interview Wednesday that they are angry and frustrated that Fischer has yet to be arrested, and in addition, is not even facing charges. There is the underlying concern that the officer is being protected by the sheriff and District Attorney Summer Stephan.   Defendant Fisher has not responded to requests for comment.

Claims Against San Diego County

Before a lawsuit is filed against the county, claims against the county must be completed in accordance with the California Government Code, sections 900-915.4.  The county then has 45 days to process and investigate your claim. The result of the claim may result in a settlement offer or a formal denial.

If the settlement or claim does not give the victim what he or she wants, the victim has a right to file a civil lawsuit against the county. Most of the time, that is the only way to obtain justice against police misconduct. Continue reading

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