Wednesday, October 01, 2008

M.V. v. Superior Court (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 30, 2008)

We spent all day Monday in my "Law of Love" class talking about statutory rape. The typical offender, of course, is male. But just as obvious is the fact that there are numerous exceptions to this general rule.

The next day (yesterday), Justice Ikola graciously publishes this opinion, which involves an Orange County woman who was (1) arrested for consensual sexual intercourse with a 15-year old boy, (2) had her two-year old son taken away from her (and put into protective custody) based upon her arrest and incarceration; (3) spent four months in county jail as a result of the charge; (4) was promptly deported to Mexico; and (5) then reunification services terminated (and a hearing set on permanent termination of her parental rights) due to the fact that her incarceration and subsequent deportation precluded her from spending a lot of time with her two-year old boy (who remained in protective custoday in the United States).

The Court of Appeal grants the mother's current writ petition -- and, parenthetically, justice in Division Three here is again (relatively) speedy, with only three months or so between the order below and the published resolution -- on the ground that the trial court applied the wrong legal standard at the six-month review hearing. So that's a win. Nonetheless, things still look far from perfect for the mother, and the loss of her two-year old son a distinct possibility.

Anyway, another timely opinion. And another reminder that not only may "15 get you 20," but also that statutory rape charges are also brought against women, and that their consequences extend even beyond incarceration.