Monday, September 11, 2017

People v. Lujano (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 11, 2017)

I had to read this morning's opinion from the Court of Appeal a couple of times just to make clear that I was reading it correctly.  I thought that the victim was initially a certain age, then later I thought that I must have gotten it wrong, only to find out (upon further review) that I was right all along.

Regardless, it's not the fact pattern that might instantly spring to mind when you read the first line:

"A jury convicted Andres Lujano of sodomy of an intoxicated person (Pen. Code, § 286, subd. (i)),1 and the trial court sentenced him to six years in state prison.  He appeals . . . .

The victim, Marco M., testified Lujano had lived next door to Marco’s family for three years, and Marco trusted him. . . . Marco testified that on May 26, 2015, he was sad because his baby was in the hospital with respiratory problems. Sitting in his truck in front of his house, he started drinking beer with his friend Jose at about 8:00 p.m. At around 11:00 p.m., he tried methamphetamine (provided by Jose) for the first time, and it made him feel more awake. Jose went home around midnight, but Marco did not go to sleep that night. Between 8:00 p.m. and about 5:30 a.m., in addition to the methamphetamine he ingested, Marco smoked marijuana and drank more than 20 beers. Marco testified he is five feet, five inches tall and weighs about 130 pounds."

Okay.  Let me just stop there for a second.  Marco smokes methamphetamine for the first time, is emotional, and then has more than twenty beers?!  And only weighs 130 pounds?!

This is not going to end well.  Things like that never end well.

"At about 5:30 a.m. on May 27, Lujano approached Marco in the truck and asked him if he wanted another beer; Marco had socialized with and drunk beer with Lujano previously. Marco said he did want another beer, and Lujano told him to come get it from his house. Marco went inside Lujano’s home to get the beer and sat down in the living room while Lujano was in the kitchen washing dishes. Marco was “pretty intoxicated” and dozed off sitting on Lujano’s couch."

So it's 5:30 in the morning, you've already had over 20 beers, and you're thinking:  "Yeah, you know what I really need at this point?  Another beer.  That'll probably help things."  Oh my.

"Marco testified he woke up because he felt “hard pain” “in [his] butt.” When he opened his eyes, he saw Lujano’s hands on top of his hands, he was face down over the side of the couch with his pants below his waist, and Lujano’s body was on top of him. When Lujano saw that Marco had opened his eyes, Lujano immediately stopped, got up, and started putting on his clothes. Marco got up, said he had to leave, and tried to go through the front door, but the door required a key to unlock it from the inside. Lujano could not find his keys and told Marco to go through the window. He gave Marco $6 and told him not to tell anyone. Marco was “still hurting” and “wasn’t able to walk right.”"

Ugh.  Terrible.

The next part of the opinion's factual recitation is the one that got me wondering whether my mental impression of Marco's age was totally off:

"Immediately after climbing through Lujano’s window, Marco went inside his own house and told his mother what had happened—that he “got raped.” She started crying and told him to call 911, which he did at 6:54 a.m. While Marco was still on the witness stand, the prosecutor played the recording of the 911 call, in which Marco told the operator “my neighbor just raped me.” Crying throughout the call, Marco said he was drunk and “just woke up and he was on top of me.” Police officers arrived about five minutes later, spoke with Marco, and took him to the hospital. Officers also took Lujano into custody that morning."

Nonetheless, I get it.  It's a traumatizing series of events at a definitely traumatic time.  Especially given the underlying physical symptoms:  "The supervising nurse practitioner who performed Marco’s sexual assault exam two to three hours after his 911 call testified Marco had an actively bleeding anal laceration—a “fairly significant injury.” She noted Marco was “shut down” and had difficulty talking about what had happened but told her he had had a lot of alcohol and was going to have a beer at Lujano’s house but “passed out” on the couch; when he “awoke,” Lujano was penetrating him. She testified Marco’s examination was consistent with his report. The parties stipulated that sperm found on Marco’s anal swab matched Lujano’s DNA profile."

Oh, man.  What a horrible, horrible night.