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Sexual Assault Conviction Vacated

People v. Vasquez Court: California Courts of Appeal, Docket: F078067 (Fifth Appellate District), Opinion Date: April 15, 2021. Defendant was convicted of various sexual offenses arising out of a single act of rape of an 11-year-old girl. The trial court imposed a term of 25 years to life on the rape count and imposed but stayed terms of 25 years to life on the lewd and lascivious act count and 15 years to life on the aggravated sexual assault count. The Court of Appeal concluded that defendant was not entitled to a statutory rape instruction where the trial court had no sua sponte duty to instruct on statutory rape because there was no substantial evidence to support a finding that the offenses were committed without the use of force or fear. The court agreed with the parties that either the rape conviction or aggravated sexual assault of a child by means of rape conviction must be vacated. The court further agreed that the aggravated sexual assault conviction must be vacated because the rape count carries the longer prison term. The court also concluded that no errors reduced the prosecution's burden of proof on counts 1 and 3 in the second trial. Accordingly, the court vacated the aggravated sexual assault conviction and affirmed in all other respects.

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