Friday, January 27, 2023

People v. Bolanos (Cal. Ct. App. - Jan. 27, 2023)

Carolos Bolanos did a lot of bad stuff, for which he was (for the most part) validly convicted. So bad that he was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. With the sole exception of a relatively minor conviction (in the scheme of things) for car theft, the Court of Appeal affirms.

So this 22-year old will spend the rest of his life in prison, for forcible sexual offenses against two victims and defrauding a third.

Whether that's a just sentence is a separate issue. The only question I have is about a single line in Justice Snauffer's opinion, about the fraud/theft office. Page four reads:

"Victim three agreed to sell her car to Maritza Martinez. At the last minute, victim three was told Bolanos would meet her instead. Bolanos showed up, test drove the car, and then victim three signed over the “pink slip ….” After signing over the “pink slip,” Bolanos handed victim three fake money concealed in an envelope. Victim three exited the car, ultimately realized the money was fake, and Bolanos drove off the with car."

The third sentence is a tiny bit confusing, though I think I understand it (maybe). It says that "Bolanos handed victim three fake money concealed in an envelope." At first, I thought that Justice Snauffer meant to say that the victim was handed three fake money orders, with the last word inadvertently omitted. But, no, it's "victim three" and "fake money." But I'm not a thousand percent sure what the Court of Appeal means by "fake money." Does that mean counterfeit money -- which is the term we usually use for that sort of thing? Or something else?

I looked it up, and it seems like the Court of Appeal has used the term "fake money" on a least a few occasions previously. So maybe it's just an alternative term for "counterfeit money." 

Though maybe it means movie prop money, or something like that? Who knows.

Still, I get it. Not actual money. Fake.

A minor offense in the scheme of things for which Mr. Bolanos was convicted, but still. Illegal.