Santa Rosa Criminal Defense Attorney Case Review - People vs. Paz

The Sonoma County criminal defense attorneys at Adams Fietz have reviewed the case of People v. Jose Paz. In this case, the California Court of Appeal addressed what is required to prove that the sexual penetration element of sodomy.

The Court held that the sexual penetration element of sodomy requires penetration past the buttocks and into the perianal area, but does not require penetration beyond the perianal folds or anal margin.

Defendant was convicted of sodomy by force (Penal Code § 286, subd. (c)(2)(A). A criminal defendant may not be convicted of a crime unless the prosecution proves every fact necessary for conviction beyond a reasonable doubt. (U.S. Const., 5th Amend.; U.S. Const., 14th Amend.; see Cal. Const., art. I, §§ 7, 15; In re Winship (1970) 397 U.S. 358, 364; Jackson v. Virginia (1979) 443 U.S. 307, 316.) This constitutional principle is so fundamental to our system of justice that criminal defendants are always “afforded protection against jury irrationality or error by the independent review of the sufficiency of the evidence undertaken by the trial and appellate courts.” (United States v. Powell (1984) 469 U.S. 57, 67.)

To convict a defendant of forcible sodomy (§ 286, subd. (c)(2)(A)), the People must prove:
the defendant committed an act of sodomy with another person;
the other person did not consent to the act; and the defendant accomplished the act by force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury to the victim or another person.
Sodomy, in turn, “is sexual conduct consisting of contact between the penis of one person and the anus of another person. Any sexual penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime of sodomy.” (§ 286, subd. (a), emphasis added.)

Section 289 provides: “ ‘Sexual penetration’ is the act of causing the penetration, however slight, of the genital or anal opening of any person or causing another person to so penetrate the defendant’s or another person’s genital or anal opening for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse by any foreign object, substance, instrument, or device, or by any unknown object.” (§ 289, subd. (k)(1).

Sexual offenses are among the most serious of crimes. If you have been charged with a sex crime, call the criminal defense attorneys at the Santa Rosa CA law firm of Adams Fietz for a free consultation.