Commentary by Criminal Attorney Sam Spital:
“The UT online edition of the news on December 27, 2012, reported a previous rape suspect was now arrested for assault, rape, attempted murder and false imprisonment of a hotel housekeeper. The 44 year old offender who was released after an arrest for rape in October due to insufficient evidence, was reportedly linked by DNA to both the previous and current vicious crimes.
The defense attorney may be faced with what is often irrefutable DNA evidence establishing guilt, however, that still leaves open the issue regarding the penalty for the crimes. This is a significant area for the experienced lawyer to set forth with compelling evidence the elements of remorse, if any, as well as mitigation.
As a criminal defense attorney, it is my considered opinion that a sentence should depend upon multiple factors and not just the proof of a crime. Here is the opportunity to view the entire panoply of facts, issues and history regarding both the crime and the defendant. For example, the life and social history of the defendant as well as the lack of any prior jail &/or prison sentence are material facts and certainly highly relevant to the disposition of a case.”
A sheriff’s deputy in Los Angeles County was accused of raping
women and soliciting bribes while on duty. He is set to appear in court on Wednesday.
28-year-old Jose Rigaberto Sanchez was arrested in his home on Monday night after a three-year investigation. He is being charged with 11 different counts.
The article did not include any interview with the officer &/or his lawyer; no discussion regarding officer’s family, social history and mitigation, if any. What has happened to honest and balanced journalism? It seems more and more we are provided with short references to events with little analysis and even less about the people and their background to invite a dialogue &/or serious reflection.
Clearly, our system of justice requires that he be given the benefit of doubt and not be tried in the news, regardless how serious and horrific the alleged crimes are, and for which our hearts go out to the victims and their families.
Commentary by Sam Spital, San Diego Criminal Defense Lawyer and former Deputy Attorney General.
COMMENTARY BY SAM SPITAL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY:
”On October 26, 2012, the CBS online news reported a 17 year old boy was tried as an adult in the San Diego Superior Court and found guilty of rape, kidnapping and sodomy by force upon two girls who were friends taking a walk in a local park. These horrific and unspeakable crimes were committed in conjunction with a second defendant who faces a separate trial, and no doubt the reason the Judge sealed the verdict pending the outcome of that ongoing trial.
According to the Deputy District Attorney, the two teenagers were smoking marijuana when they saw the two girls, at which point one of the boys held a knife and used threats to force them to a secluded place where they were brutally and repeatedly attacked and subjected to a ‘30- to 40-minute series of sexual assaults that included every imaginable kind of rape.’ The police account reflected the defendant’s admission as well as the following statement: ‘(Expletive) happens… The body is weak when it sees flesh.’
The Defense Lawyer argued her client was not guilty and acted out of ‘impulse;’ he ‘cooperated after his arrest and admitted what he did.’ The article did not report and, therefore it is heart-wrenching there was no evidence of remorse, mitigation &/or recognition of wrongdoing of the savage behavior by the defendant who faces up to 325 years to life in State Prison. The reader is left wondering if either defendant has any redeeming quality having taken away the innocence of two girls who are and will be scared for life.”SAM SPITAL, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY
“On September 27, 2012, the UT San Diego News contained an article in which a defendant pled guilty and was sentenced to 16 years in State Prison for an August 2011 kidnapping and rape of a 21 year old woman, who testified in the Preliminary Hearing that he beat her with a flashlight and golf club, then forced her into a car, ordered her to remove her clothes and used the golf club to assault her. In another count filed against the defendant, he pled guilty to breaking the nose of a man and knocking unconscious that man’s son thereby causing bleeding in his brain. Some will argue that 16 years in prison is not enough of a penalty, but they do not have all of the facts to reach that conclusion. This is the challenge when reading a brief summary written in the news. I continue to ask why a journalist does not provide a fair and balanced account so that the public is truly informed by the news. Clearly, there is a limited amount of time and opportunity for comment, however, no one benefits from a story that does not contain enough information on the relevant points; here, it would be helpful to know what the defense contended, the cross-examination it might conduct, and what evidence they might propound if the matter went to trial. That would reduce the speculation that inevitably arises in many readers’ minds as to the nature of the crime, the motivation and intent of the defendant, and the appropriateness of the sentence in an individual case.”
Sam Spital, Criminal Defense Lawyer