Breast Cancer Awareness
|
HesperiaStar.com
  • APPELLATE COURT

    Man denied new trial in statutory rape case

    Arnold lured girl on Craigslist by seeking babysitter
    • email print
  • A Hesperia man could be released from prison within months, despite being denied a new trial for the 2011 statutory rape of an underage babysitter he solicited on Craigslist.com.
    Appellate justices recently ruled that Michael John Arnold, 35, was given a fair trial when a Victorville jury convicted the man of having sex with a 16-year-old he met after posting a false ad seeking childcare services. Arnold appealed, arguing the trial court judge allowed improper evidence to be presented at trial, among other issues, according to an unpublished opinion filed June 27 by Division 2 of the 4th District Court of Appeal in Riverside.
    In July 2011, Arnold posted an ad on Craigslist.com seeking childcare services. When the Victorville victim responded to Arnold’s listing, he revealed he did not need a babysitter but told the victim that if she needed cash they could “work something out,” according to court documents. He ultimately paid the victim $60 before the two had sex. Days later she told her therapist, who contacted police.
    At trial, Deputy District Attorney Maggie Yang painted Arnold as a predator with a fetish for underage girls. Prosecutors pointed to evidence including a pornographic magazine the man possessed depicting adult women posing as teenagers. They also pointed to a previous conviction after Arnold had an unlawful sexual relationship with a 15-year-old when he was 23.
    Arnold was ultimately sentenced to three years and 8 months in state prison for the Craigslist incident. He will also have to register as a sex offender for life. With credits for conduct and time served, Arnold should be eligible for parole next month.
    On appeal, Arnold’s defense team argued the judge shouldn’t have allowed the jury to see evidence of the pornographic magazine. They argued that while it would likely cause the jury to dislike the defendant, it didn’t serve a purpose in proving the crime. While the justices agreed the evidence wasn’t relevant for showing intent, it was relevant in proving motive and identity.
    “Here, defendant denied doing the acts complained of,” wrote Associate Justice Jeffrey King. “He even went so far as to testify that he had never seen (the victim) or her mother prior to the time of trial. As such, his identity as the perpetrator was clearly at issue.”
    At trial Arnold was represented by Deputy Public Defender William Figueroa. Neither Figueroa nor Yang were available for comment.
    " data-width="650" data-numposts="20" data-colorscheme="light">