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Name: People v. Ortega
Case #: E054882
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/21/2013
Summary

Appellant was properly charged with molesting his daughter where the original charges were filed within 10 years of the commission of the offense. In 1993, appellant began touching his then nine-year-old daughter in a sexual manner at least once a week. The touching stopped in 1996, after appellant’s daughter made a partial disclosure to her mother and appellant was kicked out of the house. In 2002, when she was 18 years old, appellant’s daughter finally disclosed the full scope of the molestation. In 2003, appellant was charged with nine violations of Penal Code section 288, subdivision (a) that allegedly occurred between 1993 and 1996. After appellant’s first trial resulted in a hung jury in 2011, the prosecution filed an amended information, charging six violations of section 288, subdivision (a) that allegedly occurred between 1994 and 1995. In the second trial, the jury found him guilty. On appeal, appellant argued that the statute of limitations had run for these offenses. The appellate court rejected the argument and affirmed. The statute of limitations for the section 288, subdivision (a) offenses was six years from the commission of the offenses. However, on January 1, 2001, an alternative limitations period was enacted for specific sex crimes, including section 288, subdivision (a), allowing the prosecution 10 years within which to file, as long as the original six-year period had not expired by 2001. Here, when the new 10-year limitations went into effect in 2001, the basic six-year period had not expired as to the section 288, subdivision (a) offenses committed from January 1 through December 31, 1995. Since the original information was filed in 2003, within the 10-year period, it was timely. The amended information related back to the original information and was timely as well. The prosecution for six violations of section 288, subdivision (a) was timely as a matter of law because the record showed that the molestations continued to occur at least once a week throughout 1995.