By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
In desperation, the defense espoused an absurd proposition. Cervantes’ statement to Haidl lawyers included this: That while he was in the back of a vehicle having sex with Doe, he made eye contact with Haidl who was allegedly standing nearby enjoying the show. This claim was significant exculpatory evidence, according to the defense.
But the justices were disgusted.
“Any supposition that men can consent with a wink or a nod to pass women among each other sexually is not founded in the law of consent or in logic,” wrote Justice Richard M. Aronson on behalf of the three-member panel. “Because an alleged victim’s prior sexual conduct with others has little or no tendency in reason to prove subsequent consent to sexual relations with a defendant, [Briseño’s] exclusion of this evidence does not, as the defendants claim, violate their constitutional right to present a defense.”
Fittingly, the appellate court ended its 56-page ruling by mirroring sentiment originally opined six years ago in the pages of the Weekly. The overzealous Haidl defense team—which totaled more than 16 lawyers, including a retired state Supreme Court justice—had, like its clients, acted in testosterone-loaded fashion as it flagrantly violated standards of decency. According to the appellate justices, the defense was guilty of displaying “the chutzpah of a thief who demands a reward for returning the wallet he stole.”
Does that stinging rebuke finally close the book on the case? Maybe not. The defendants can now bitch to the state Supreme Court.
This column appeared in print as "Nowhere to Haidl: Appellate court rejects convicted rapist Greg Haidl’s (and his convicted-rapist friends’) unfair-trial claims."