Justices Uphold Prosecution For Vindictive Househunter

The old saying that truth is stranger than fiction holds true in this case. The criminal defendant was charged with sex crimes after she lost out on a house bidding war. The trial Judge originally threw out the case but the district attorney appealed.

Here are the facts as brought out in the appeal. The accused became angry at the victim and her husband after they outbid her for the purchase of a house. As part of a series of harassing acts to retaliate against the victims defendant impersonated the female victim and posted an online advertisement seeking sexual partners for liaisons to occur while the victim’s husband was at work. Several men responded and, during sexually explicit email exchanges, defendant still impersonating the victim, encouraged them to appear unannounced at the victim’s home and engage in forcible sexual acts, even if she feigned resistance. Appellant was charged with soliciting forcible rape and forcible sodomy (Pen. Code, § 653f, subd. (c)). After the preliminary hearing, the magistrate dismissed the charges, concluding Rowe lacked the requisite specific intent. The superior court denied the prosecution’s Penal Code section 871.5 motion to reinstate.

The California Court of appeal reversed. They opined: The circumstances here supplied a rational ground for believing that the vindictive defendant intended the men to engage in forcible sexual acts against the victim’s will. The evidence created “a reasonable inference defendant intended the men to take indecent liberties with, lay hold of, or kiss the victim against her will” when they contacted her. The learned justices ruled that although the evidence did not show the men who were solicited perceived appellant’s request as solicitation to commit rape or forcible sodomy, it is sufficient that she requested they perform acts, which, if completed, would have amounted to these crimes. “Solicitation focuses on the intention and action of the solicitor, not the solicitee.” The crime is complete when the request is made with the requisite intent; the solicitor’s use of an innocent agent does not vitiate criminal culpability. (Courtesy CCAP)

Interesting case on the law. If the woman is ultimately convicted she may be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.

About thetorranceattorney

Matthew Ruff is a Torrance criminal defense attorney located near the 405 freeway on Crenshaw Blvd. Focusing on DUI and serious criminal cases for over twenty five years. In addition to criminal cases, Matthew also defends clients at the DMV regarding license suspension hearings stemming from drunk driving arrests.
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