Court Roundup

California
Judges overturn rape conviction, urge law change

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California appellate judges urged legislators to update an arcane 19th century law, as the panel reversed the rape conviction of a man who authorities say pretended to be a sleeping woman’s boyfriend before initiating intercourse.
The Los Angeles-based appeals court said that the 1872 measure doesn’t give single women the same protections as their married counterparts in certain rape cases.
Julio Morales had been convicted and sentenced to three years in state prison, found guilty of entering a woman’s bedroom late one night once her boyfriend had gone home and initiating sexual intercourse while she was asleep, after a night of drinking.
But a panel of judges overturned the trial court’s conviction and remanded it for retrial, in a decision posted this week.
The victim said her boyfriend was in the room when she fell asleep, and they’d decided against having sex that night because he didn’t have a condom and he had to be somewhere early the next day.
Morales pretended to be her boyfriend in the darkened room, and it wasn’t until a ray of light from outside the room flashed across his face that she realized he wasn’t her boyfriend, according to prosecutors.
“Has the man committed rape? Because of historical anomalies in the law and the statutory definition of rape, the answer is no, even though, if the woman had been married and the man had impersonated her husband, the answer would be yes,” Judge Thomas L. Willhite Jr. wrote in the court’s decision.

Louisiana
Judge: Houston company must pay for faked tests

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A judge says a Houston company must pay $1 million in fines and community service payments for falsifying water tests at an offshore production platform in 2009.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office in New Orleans says in a news release that U.S. District Judge Eldon Fallon sentenced W&T Offshore Inc. on Thursday. The company had pleaded guilty to tampering with monitoring required under the Clean Water Act.
Permits require monthly tests of whether oil and grease discharges are within federal limits.

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