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Name: People v. Dominguez
Case #: B212967
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/11/2010
Summary

For the purpose of false imprisonment, the amount of force required to violate the personal liberty of an unresisting infant or child is the amount required to take the child a substantial distance for an illegal purpose or with an illegal intent. At trial, the jury heard evidence that four-year-old L. and her cousin, six-year-old J., who lived in the same apartment building, told their mothers that they were going to play with a friend who lived in another apartment in the complex. As they reached the friend’s apartment, they encountered appellant who hugged them, asked where their mom was, and, saying he wanted L. to come to a restaurant, picked her up and carried her downstairs. J. followed them. When appellant saw another man, he stopped and put L. down. The jury also heard of uncharged prior acts where appellant improperly touched two other young girls. Appellant was convicted of felony false imprisonment as to L. and misdemeanor false imprisonment as to J. The appellate court found sufficient evidence supported the verdicts. Appellant, with no right to touch the girls, touched them and moved L. a substantial distance. Based on the uncharged acts, the jury could infer appellant had a disposition for molesting young girls and that the movement of L. was for an illegal purpose or with an illegal intent. The necessary element of forceful violation of the child’s liberty for a false imprisonment conviction were satisfied by the following factors: L.’s age, the distance traveled, and the fact that appellant picked her up and carried her the distance. Appellant’s conduct, as a whole, could be inferred as one of implied harm, sufficient to elevate the imprisonment of L. to a felony. The conviction for misdemeanor false imprisonment of J. was also supported by sufficient evidence. Out of fear for L.’s safety, J. followed appellant as he carried L. away. The express use of force on one person, i.e., appellant’s restraint of L., can constitute implied use of force upon another.