CCB, or the criminal courts building, also known as the Clara Shortridge Foltz Building, is the main downtown courthouse. They prosecute many rape cases there because they handle a massive jurisdiction of cases.
They have the most sex crime prosecutors in that particular courthouse at 210 West Temple. The main head sex crime prosecutor is across the street at the hall of records.
So, typically, if someone is charged with rape and they're trying to work out a deal, the attorney will go to that main head sex prosecutor across the street and negotiate with them related to the case.
If you or a loved one is charged with rape in the CCB courthouse, you want to get the best attorney you can find. I've been defending rape cases there for the past 30 years. I started working out for the DA's office in Los Angeles and then as a superior court judge.
Then finally, in the early 1990s, I became a criminal defense attorney defending rape cases. These cases are very serious. Perhaps you have a valid consent argument.
What Does the Law Say?
California Penal Code 261 PC defines rape as using force, threats, or fraud to have non-consensual sexual intercourse with someone. If convicted of rape, it's a felony crime punishable by up to eight years in state prison and requires lifetime registration as a sex offender. The penalties for rape are defined under Penal Code 264 PC.
PC 261 has a list of acts that are considered rape, including non-consensual sex with a person, while:
- they are incapable of consenting because of a mental disorder,
- intercourse accomplished using force, violence, or duress,
- the other person can't consent due to intoxication, and
- the other person was unconscious and unable to give consent.
To convict someone of PC 261, a prosecutor has to prove all the elements of the crime, that includes the other person did not consent to the sexual intercourse and that the act was accomplished using any of the following:
- fear of bodily injury,
Force refers to physical force that overcomes someone's will. The term violence means any conduct with the intent to hurt the victim. Duress means a sufficient threat to coerce someone to have sex, while menace is a statement that shows they intend to cause injury.
To cause fear requires that someone is afraid. Retaliation is revenge; fraud means the defendant used deceit or tricks to persuade someone to have sex with them. In the context of the law, sexual intercourse means any sexual penetration, even slight, of the vagina or genitalia by the penis.
Of note is that someone who gives initial consent to sexual intercourse can change their mind during the act and no longer consent. Further, an alleged victim is not required to resist communicating a lack of consent physically.
What Are the Related Crimes?
Several offenses are related to Penal Code 261 rape, such as the following:
- Penal Code 261.5 PC – statutory rape,
- Penal Code 264.1 PC – rape in concert,
- Penal Code 243.4 PC – sexual battery,
- Penal Code 289 PC – foreign object penetration,
- Penal Code 286 PC – sodomy,
- Penal Code 287 PC – oral copulation by force.
Fighting the Case Vs. Negotiation with Prosecutor
Probably one of the first things you want to do is sit down with your attorney and make sure you decide whether you're going to fight the case or you're going to try to negotiate the case.
If you fight the case, you're going to start preparing a defense, and depending on what type of evidence the prosecutors will use, your defense will be designed around that.
For example, if the prosecutors have done a SART or sexual assault-related exam, you will want to get an expert to evaluate the exam.
If they've got DNA, you may want to get a DNA expert to consider what evidence they have depending on what your client tells you went on and depending on what the evidence looks like from the perspective of somebody who's been doing it a long time.
So, that's what you're going to want to do if you're going to fight things. You're going to see if an expert makes sense.
You're going to see exactly what the story is so you can start to build a defense, and I talk to my clients, and we talk about them potentially testifying in the case to give their side of the story.
What is a Mitigation Package?
If we're not going to fight the case because the prosecutors have the evidence to prove it, we'll want to put together a mitigation package if you're charged with rape in downtown Los Angeles. That would include the following:
- letters from family and friends (character letters).
- any volunteering you do,
- any churches you might attend,
- any information we can get that makes you look good.
Another thing that I do many times is a Penal Code Section 288.1 PC report, which is a report from a psychologist or psychiatrist assessing whether or not you would be a recidivist and commit one of these crimes again, assessing your dangerousness level, the type of person you are.
They're going to look at your background. They'll run tests on you, and then they'll write a report, and then I can usually use that report, especially if it's a good one, with the judge and prosecutor to try to work out a reasonable resolution in the case.
Another thing that judges and prosecutors look at in rape cases is your criminal history. Do you have any prior sex cases? Do you have any previous acts of violence? Do you have a clean criminal record?
They will also look at the impact on the victim in the case in determining what the case will be resolved for.
So, your first step is to pick up the phone and call somebody like me who's been doing this for 30 years. I've worked for the DA's office. I've worked for a judge, and I've worked for people just like you since the early 1990s.
Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. We'll go over everything in the privacy of my office and get a game plan together to deal with your case in the best possible way. We offer a free case evaluation by phone or using the contact form.