Thursday, December 08, 2005

People v. Prince (Cal. Ct. App. - Dec. 5, 2005)

This one is long. Long. 69 pages. There's a lot of good stuff in there, the vast majority of which concerns the type of evidence and testimony that is properly admissible with respect to DNA evidence. In particular, the type of evidence and testimony that juries love; i.e., the classic "The odds against this DNA coming from any random person other than defendant is one in a million/billion/zillion etc."

In other words, an important holding. But let's all just take a guess at how it comes out. Not by the nature of the testimony or the law, but rather merely by reference to the underlying crimes.

The defendant, Patrick Paul Prince -- "PPP", as I like to call him -- was convicted of breaking into the homes of five different children in the middle of the night and sexually assaulting each of them. PPP allegedly sexually assaulted EK, a 10-year old girl, in October 2001, by threatening her family and then forcibly assaulting her. PPP ran off when EK's mother returned to the house, and EK came running out of her bedroom screaming "Mommy, run, get out, he has a knife and he'll kill you!" Yikes. Then, two months later, PPP allegedly broke into the house of KS, a 12-year old girl, and threatened her and her family with a gun, and started to sexually assault her. When PPP put down his gun to get duct tape to wrap up the girl, KS picked up the gun and fired off two shots at him. Okay, maybe not the smartest thing for her to do. Since PPP grabbed the gun from her and could have killed her in response. But didn't; instead, he fled. Which made me smile. Good for KS. Too bad she didn't hit him. (Interesting, KS then went to her mother's bedroom and woke her up, crying hysterically and screaming that someone had tried to rape her. The mother told KS that she was dreaming. To which KS responded that she wasn't -- that this was real, and that she had fired shots at her attacker. At which point the mother went to KS's bedroom and saw the bullet holes. No dream, Mom. This one's real.)

Ten months later, PPP breaks into the bedroom of a 16-year old girl and sexually assaults her, holding an ice pick. Then six months later, PPP breaks into the bedroom of an adult woman (in her 30s), carrying a knife this time, and sexually assaults her as well. Then, five short days later, he breaks into the home of a 12-year old girl, presumably to sexually assault her as well. Anyway, in toto, five burglaries and many, many sexual and other assaults on young girls. All committed in the same small town in rural California: Wofford Heights.

PPP gets convicted on all counts. His sentence? 75 years to life. Plus 23 years and 4 months.

Not someone that anyone wants to let out. To sexually assault their own -- or anyone else's -- children.

And Justice Ardaiz doesn't disappoint. Convictions on a couple of minor counts are reversed for insufficient evidence (as is not particularly unusual in child molestation/assault cases), but the remainder are affirmed, notwithstanding the somewhat troubling DNA testimony. So it's life in prison for you, PPP. Enjoy.