The terms “rape” and “sexual assault” are often used interchangeably in the media, but there are clear legal differences between them. The legal definitions may seem similar, but they can make a world of difference when it comes to launching a defense in a criminal trial. A felony rape conviction can result in imprisonment in a California state prison, thousands of dollars in fines, and additional punishments, while sexual assault is a misdemeanor and a conviction can lead to a lighter sentence.
Sex Crimes | Orange County Criminal Defense Blog
The OC Register recently reported that a US Marine Corps sergeant was arrested after a sexual assault allegation. The assault was said to have occurred during his stint as a volunteer for Marina High School’s track and field team.
A young woman (who was 17 years old at the time) alleges that Gonzalo Castro, a San Clemente resident, took advantage of their “coach–athlete relationship” and assaulted her on an off-campus run. Castro was on active duty at the time and also worked as a Marine recruiter at Ocean View High school. Read the rest »
There is a good chance that if you watch the nightly news or check out the daily headlines that you’ve heard the term “sexual battery.” In fact, over the past year there have been a number of high profile cases related to sexual battery. From the ongoing Bill Cosby investigation to the recent Charlie Sheen scandal, there seems to be no shortage of sexual battery accusations. But, for many people, sexual battery equals rape, which is not always the case. This, of course, leaves us with the question – what exactly is sexual battery? Read the rest »
The Law Office of Michael L. Guisti has been retained by Huong Thi Nguyen to defend her against criminal charges. On November 19, 2015, ABC7 news aired a story about a Santa Ana ride along where Ms. Nguyen was allegedly arrested by the Santa Ana Police Department for prostitution. As her legal counsel, we are shocked at the inaccuracies and outright fabrications in the ABC7 news report. It is ironic that an agency which shields itself behind the 1st Amendment would be so reckless and indifferent to the constitutional rights of someone who has been victimized in the human trafficking industry. This office will fight vigorously in Ms. Nguyen’s defense.
The ABC7 news report in question can be found here.
Along the East Coast the old saying goes, “There is a church and bar on every corner.” In California, you could certainly make the same comment about donut shops and massage parlors. It’s hard to go one block or one mile in Southern California without spotting one of the two businesses in a strip mall. Up until recently massage parlors have been primarily regulated on a state level – leaving local authorities to clean up whatever mess is left behind should the establishment take a less savory business trajectory. But a recent measure passed by state legislatures has put the power back in the hands of local law enforcement. Read the rest »
OC Prosecutors File Charges Against Teachers Accused of Sex Abuse, Giving Drugs to Minors in San Clemente
San Clemente, CA — All sorts of restrictions are placed on teenagers’ behavior. They can’t get a driver’s license until they turn 16. Can’t smoke until they’re 18. Can’t drink until their 21st birthday. These limitations are in place to give them more time to gain experience and develop judgment before they assume the responsibility of adulthood, teenagers often will try to do these things anyway. Sometimes with the help of adults who look the other way or even actively help them.
On Monday, the Orange County District Attorney’s office announced that additional charges would be filed against two former teachers accused of arranging an overnight camping trip in San Clemente in order to have sex with students. The defendants are Melody Suzanne Lippert, 38, and Michelle Louise Ghirelli, 30, who previously worked as a teacher and administrator, respectively, with the Covina-Valley school district.
Moreno Valley, CA — People often think that the appeals process is meant to allow those who have been convicted of a crime to prove their innocence. However, the truth is that most convictions are won on procedural grounds and sometimes only win a defendant a right to a second trial. While having a conviction overturned because of improper prosecutorial conduct or illegal evidence might seem a bit nitpicky, it is important to remember that one of our core principles is the right of everyone to due process under the law. If that due process is violated then a judge has no choice but to overturn a conviction or undo a lower court ruling.
On Monday, California’s 4th District Court of Appeal dismissed 9 of the 12 pimping charges that Mike Rios, 44, had been convicted of in 2013. However, Rios’ appellate attorney John Schuck plans to appeal the ruling on the grounds that his client’s prison sentence of 14 years 4 months was not reduced because his sentences are being served concurrently.
Los Angeles, CA — In the past year, comedian Bill Cosby has faced intense media scrutiny for allegations of sexual assault going back 40 years. So far all of the alleged assaults took place too long ago for Cosby to be charged with a crime. However, the most recent accuser to come forward claims that Cosby drugged and sexually assaulted her within the statute of limitations.
Chloe Goins, 24, and her attorney, Spencer T. Kuvin, held a press event at a Los Angeles police station on Wednesday to discuss Goins’ accusation. Goins claims that Cosby, 77, gave her a drugged drink at a “Midsummer Night’s Dream” party at the Playboy Mansion in 2008, causing her to lose consciousness. According to Goins, she woke up to find that Cosby was licking her toes while masturbating. Goins was 18 at the time.
Santa Ana, CA – The internet grants people a certain degree of anonymity. Most people simply use this as license to be rude to each other in comment threads and discussion forums. However, someone people, believing their online actions to be invisible or untraceable use the internet to commit crimes. Among the largest categories of online crime are fraud and child pornography.
Robert Harold Dolin, 55, was sentenced to 41 months in prison on June 30 after pleading guilty to one count of possessing child pornography, a felony. The sentence was handed down by US District Judge James V. Seina, who noted in his sentence that possession and production of child pornography is “a real crime with real victims. It is serious and must be deterred.” Dolin was arrested in a probe by the Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) arm of Immigrant and Customs Enforcement (ICE) working with the Orange County Child Exploitation Task Force and Kaiser Permanente, Dolin’s former employer.
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