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Name: People v. Perez
Case #: H033386
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/24/2010

The statute of limitations did not bar prosecution where sex offenses were punishable by life imprisonment. Appellant was charged with four violations of Penal Code section 288, subdivision (b)(1) with an allegation that he fell under the alternative punishment scheme set forth in section 667.61, subdivisions (b) and (e), the “One Strike Law.” As to counts one and four, the information alleged that they occurred between January 1, 1995 and September 1, 1996. Appellant was convicted of counts one, two, and four. At trial, he argued that the statute of limitations barred his prosecution on counts one and four because the offenses were outside the statute of limitations. The prosecution argued that because appellant was charged under the One Strike Law, and therefore subject to life imprisonment, the charges were authorized by section 799 and were not stale. The appellate court affirmed the denial of the motion to dismiss, finding that the opinions of the California Supreme Court in People v. Jones (2009) 47 Cal.4th 566 and People v. Brookfield (2009) 47 Cal.4th 583, make clear that determining whether an offense is punishable by life imprisonment must take into account an alternative sentencing scheme that applies to the offense based on other criminal conduct which the trier of fact has determined has occurred. Further, the Legislature intended that more serious crimes be prosecutable farther into the future. Therefore, those opinions mandate that section 799 applies to appellant’s prosecution, and the prosecution was therefore not time-barred. The appellate court also held there was sufficient evidence of coercion on count two where a trier of fact could conclude that the victim felt coerced to perform sex acts on appellant because she feared he would tell her grandmother she had taken money. The court also rejected appellant’s challenge to the admissibility of child sexual abuse accommodation syndrome evidence.