Contact Us for a Free Consultation (213) 542-0979


A Defense Success Story in a Rape Case

Posted by Ronald D. Hedding | May 17, 2024

Recently I had a client who was charged with California Penal Code 261 PC rape and facing many years in prison. He had met somebody on the road and got together with them at their apartment.

They had drunk alcohol, and within days after they had sex, he was being accused of PC 261 rape. I took the case to trial in Pomona Superior Court and got a not-guilty verdict.

I bring this story to your attention because it was a situation where he was being accused of a crime he did not commit. Once you're charged, a significant stigma is put over you, and the jury often believes you must have done something wrong.

It takes a lot of hard work, preparation, and investigation to turn the tide and prove that the person is innocent. Often, like in this case, it's common sense.

You've got to look at precisely what happened. You've got to ask the right questions of the alleged victim to point out that my client did not do anything wrong.

Victims Inconsistencies

To protect my client's identity, I'm not going to get into all of the facts and circumstances of the case, but suffice it to say, there were many inconsistencies in the alleged victim's story, and she had the motive to lie and not tell the truth about exactly what happened.

Once confronted with her lies and the jury saw her reaction and how she answered some of the questions, it was clear she was not telling the truth.

There's a jury instruction that once a witness lies about one thing, the jury cannot believe any of their testimony. When you're talking about a defendant being charged with such a severe crime of rape, and the prosecution has the burden of proof.

This means if the jury votes at the beginning of the case, they have to vote not guilty because they haven't heard any of the evidence. The primary evidence a jury does hear is from a witness who I'm able to establish lied about specific crucial details of her original story, which creates a huge problem.

What is the Definition of Rape?

Penal Code 261 PC says, "(a) Rape is an act of sexual intercourse accomplished under any of the following circumstances:

(1) If a person who is not the spouse of the person committing the act is incapable, because of a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability, of giving legal consent, which is known or reasonably should be known to the person committing the act.

Notwithstanding the existence of a conservatorship pursuant to the provisions of the Lanterman-Petris-Short Act (Part 1 (commencing with Section 5000) of Division 5 of the Welfare and Institutions Code), the prosecuting attorney shall prove, as an element of the crime, that a mental disorder or developmental or physical disability rendered the alleged victim incapable of giving consent.

This paragraph does not preclude the prosecution of a spouse committing the act from being prosecuted under any other paragraph of this subdivision or any other law.

(2) If it is accomplished against a person's will by means of force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another.

(3) If a person is prevented from resisting by an intoxicating anesthetic or controlled substance, this condition was known or reasonably should have been known by the accused.

California Penal Code 261 PC - Rape

(4) If a person is at the time unconscious of the nature of the act, and this is known to the accused. As used in this paragraph, “unconscious of the nature of the act” means incapable of resisting because the victim meets any one of the following conditions:

(A) Was unconscious or asleep.

(B) Was unaware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant that the act occurred.

(C) Was unaware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant of the essential characteristics of the act due to the perpetrator's fraud.

(D) Was not aware, knowing, perceiving, or cognizant of the essential characteristics of the act due to the perpetrator's fraudulent representation that the sexual penetration served a professional purpose when it served no professional purpose.

(5) If a person submits under the belief that the person committing the act is someone known to the victim other than the accused, this belief is induced by artifice, pretense, or concealment practiced by the accused, intending to induce the belief.

(6) If the act is accomplished against the victim's will by threatening to retaliate against the victim or any other person, there is a reasonable possibility that the perpetrator will execute the threat. As used in this paragraph, “threatening to retaliate” means a threat to kidnap, falsely imprison, or inflict extreme pain, serious bodily injury, or death.

(7) If the act is accomplished against the victim's will by threatening to use the authority of a public official to incarcerate, arrest, or deport the victim or another, and the victim has a reasonable belief that the perpetrator is a public official.

As used in this paragraph, “public official” means a person employed by a governmental agency who has the authority, as part of that position, to incarcerate, arrest, or deport another. The perpetrator does not actually have to be a public official.

(b) For purposes of this section, the following definitions apply:

(1) “Duress” means a direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, or retribution sufficient to coerce a reasonable person of ordinary susceptibilities to perform an act which otherwise would not have been performed or acquiesce in an act to which one otherwise would not have submitted. The total circumstances, including the victim's age and relationship to the defendant, are factors to consider in appraising the existence of duress.

(2) “Menace” means any threat, declaration, or act that shows an intention to inflict an injury upon another."

Contact Our Law Firm

So, if you or a loved one is charged with a crime you did not commit, like rape, for example, pick up the phone and ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding. I've been doing this for over 30 years.

I started out working for the district attorney's office, and then in 1992, I worked for a superior court judge as his right-hand man. After that, I opened my criminal defense law firm and have defended people like you since 1994. If you need the best, pick up the phone now. Ask for a meeting with Ron Hedding.

Related Content:

About the Author

Ronald D. Hedding

What Makes Ronald Hedding Uniquely Qualified To Represent You? I've been practicing criminal defense for almost 30 years and have handled thousands of cases, including all types of state and federal sex crime cases. All consultations are discreet and confidential.