Friday, July 18, 2008

U.S. v. Gonzalez (9th Cir. - July 18, 2008)

We take it seriously if you use your position of trust and authority as a police officer to sexually assault women.

As in 30 years in the slammer seriously.

The last paragraph of the opinion --which affirms the defendant's conviction -- is classic Judge Noonan. Who has a heart and doesn't lose sight of either the occasional imperfections of the system or the fact that we are dealing with real human lives here. The last paragraph is a virtual signature:

"Gonzalez, thirty-seven at the time of the crimes, was a graduate of California State University at Long Beach. He had been gainfully employed since he was 26. He had no criminal record. He had been a member of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department since 1997. To read his case is to read the story of a police officer inexplicably gone bad. His fall is great, his sentence hard. Bearing all this in mind and recalling that identifications are sometimes mistaken, we have reviewed the record and found that we cannot say that our confidence in the verdict has been shaken or that the convictions were produced by error. Accordingly, the judgment of conviction is AFFIRMED."