Imade A. Jati didn't know that the call from his daughter was being recorded or that the questions he was being asked had been written by Matt Ricci, a veteran Irvine police detective.
So, when the high school senior asked her father if he'd promise never to have sex with her again, he replied, “Absolutely, absolutely,” according to court records.
The girl repeated the question and Jati replied, “No, I won't.”
But after his arrest for molesting and raping his daughter more than 200
times since she was nine years old and in the third grade, Jati
testified that his statements during the recorded call had been nothing
more than “role playing.”
He claimed that his daughter was a
“game player” who'd made false incest assertions because she'd been mad
with him for sleeping with another woman who was not his wife.
Neither prosecutors in the Orange County District Attorney's office nor a jury bought the explanation. Jati was found guilty in 2010 and Superior Court Judge Gregg L. Prickett decided to issue tough punishment. Prickett sent Jati, then 55 years old, to a California prison for the next 80 years.
appealed his conviction. He claimed he'd been improperly convicted and
that his punishment is excessive. At worst, he thinks he should have
been placed on probation.
He also asserted that his defense
lawyer had rendered ineffective counsel because he refused to argue
Jati's proposed mitigating sentencing argument: He'd been careful during
the rapes, if they occurred, not to get his daughter pregnant by pulling out and
ejaculating on her stomach or in his hand.
“We cannot fault the defense counsel for failing to make such a cynical argument,” ruled California Court of Appeal Justice Kathleen O'Leary. “We doubt there is even a remote possibility it would have persuaded the trial court to impose a lesser sentence.”
In the end, O'Leary and justices William Bedsworth and Eileen Moore decided this month that the evidence proved Jati had abused his position as a father. They upheld the convictions.
–R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.