Based on a doctor's expert testimony during a 2009 trial, the physical evidence was clear: a seven-year-old Anaheim boy living nearDisneyland
had suffered a bite to his penis and his torn rectum had bled after a bathroom encounter with his mother's boyfriend,Miguel Angel Garcia
In addition, the boy told his mother, who'd been working during the incident, that Garcia had also given him a blow job after raping him.
But Juror #6 refused to hold Garcia responsible or even to deliberate the facts, according to court records.
Other jurors, who had no problem arriving at guilty verdicts at the conclusion of the trial, became frustrated by the holdout and told Superior Court Judge Carla Singer. The foreman wondered out loud if the lone juror had a mental "competency" problem. Still, the juror refused to budge. Singer ordered the panel not to quit.
Several hours later--after key testimony had been reviewed, the lone juror dropped her stance and the jury reached the necessary unanimous guilty verdicts: In September 2007, 24-year-old Garcia had committed oral copulation, sexual penetration, two forcible lewd acts and sodomy on the boy.
Judge Singer responded by sentencing Garcia to 40 years to life in prison.
Seeking a new trial, the molester appealed, arguing that Singer had violated his right to a fair trial by withholding from him the identity and contact information for the holdout juror. He said he wanted to know if the majority of the panel had intimidated her "in fear of being slandered . . . or humiliated again."
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Last week, a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana backed Singer.
That ruling--written by Justice Richard D. Fybel--leaves Garcia stuck. If a future parole board is kind, his first chance to return to freedom will be in 2050. He will be 66 years old.
Barring unusual circumstances, juror identities in California are a secret.
--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly