Wednesday, November 30, 2005

People v. Cross (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 28, 2005)

Let's say -- hypothetically, of course -- you have an opinion that begins as follows: "Appellant was tried for sexual misconduct with his 13-year old stepdaughter who became pregnant and had an abortion." Sounds neutral, right? Any doubt about how the opinion is going to come out?

Nope. None whatsoever. Conviction affirmed.

Two points about this not-so-hypothetical opinion beyond its opening sentence and result. First, Justice Elia holds that the abortion itself can constitute "personal infliction of great bodily injury." Second, he also holds that it's okay to sentence Cross -- who has no criminal history, who was "in love" with his stepdaughter, and whom the jury acquitted of all charges of threats and force -- to 15 years to life. Not cruel or unusual.

Not that he's necessarily wrong. But still. Interesting. Certainly worth reading.