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Name: People v. Betts
Case #: E029720
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 10/08/2002
Subsequent History: Rev. granted 1/15/03: S111309

Appellant was convicted of numerous counts of child molestation of his step-daughters. Appellant lived in California with the children, but was a trucker and also traveled, sometimes taking the girls with him. Some of the molestation allegations took place outside California. Appellant argued that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to prosecute him for all the molestation counts which occurred outside California, and that he was erroneously denied a jury trial on the jurisdiction issue. The appellate court here affirmed. Where some act is committed in California which is an ingredient of the crime, a conviction may be sustained even if the final consummation of the offense takes place outside California. Here, preparatory acts were done in California to commit the molestations. The truck trips facilitated the offenses because they placed the victims in close sleeping quarters and isolated them from their mother. Appellant’s intent in California was to take the victims on a trip to molest them. Therefore, there was no error in the court’s determination that it had jurisdiction over the offenses. Further, subject matter jurisdiction is only required to be proven by a preponderance of evidence in California, distinguishing it from states which require jury trials on the issue. Location of the crime is a procedural issue which can be resolved by the court prior to trial.