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Name: People v. Mejia
Case #: B193804
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 09/12/2007

A conviction for continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 was reversed where there was insufficient evidence that the time period requirement was met. Appellant was found guilty of eight counts of continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 in violation of Penal Code section 288.5 and six violations of section 288.5, subdivision (a), and forcible rape. On appeal, he challenged the sufficiency of evidence to support his conviction for continuous sexual abuse (count 1), two of the lewd act convictions (counts 2 and 4), and the rape conviction. As to the continuous sexual abuse conviction, he argued that there was insufficient evidence that three acts of molestation occurred over the three-month period required by section 288.5, subdivision (a). He argued as to the lewd act conviction, that there was insufficient evidence that the molestation occurred after the victim’s 14th birthday, as alleged. The appellate court agreed and reversed these two counts, but rejected appellant’s other challenges to the sufficiency of evidence. The only reasonable inference permitted by the evidence was that appellant’s abuse began sometime in June and continued to some date in September, but the jury could only speculate that the first incident occurred early enough in June to satisfay the 90-day requirement expiring on September 17, 2004. There was no evidence as to when the acts occurred in September, including whether it was before or after the victim’s birthday. Although there was sufficient evidence that there were three acts during the charging period, there was no substantial evidence that at least three months elapsed between the first and third offense committed against the victim as a 13-year old.