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Name: People v. Ochoa
Case #: D042215
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 09/02/2004
Subsequent History: mod. 122 CA4th 823c; Rev. GRANTED 11/17/04: S128417

Appellant was charged with rape and several other sex offenses against the victim, Maria. When Maria testified at trial, her testimony began to conflict with her prior statements to police and her preliminary hearing testimony. The trial court advised Maria of her Fifth Amendment privileges and she declined to testify further. Maria’s prior statements and preliminary hearing testimony were admitted at trial. On appeal, following appellant’s conviction for the offenses, he argued that the trial court violated his right to confrontation by admitting the prior statements, and violated his right to due process by giving a coercive advisement to the victim. The appellate court here found no error. The Fifth Amendment warnings were necessary and not coercive. Even if there was error, it was harmless because appellant had the opportunity to cross-examine Maria at the preliminary hearing, and the statements to police were also admitted and subject to cross-examination at that time. Further, the jury found appellant guilty on count 6, and the trial court had the discretion to sentence consecutively on that count. The imposition of consecutive sentences does not exceed the statutory maximum penalty for those offenses and thus does not contravene the holding in Blakely.