13 Life Sentences for Serial Prostitute Rapist Upheld

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A jury properly convicted a Brazilian man who raped six women in Oakland while pretending to be a police officer, a state appeals court ruled.
     In 2012, a jury convicted 38-year-old Gleiston Porcinode Andrade of six counts of forced oral copulation and seven counts of forcible rape against six women, who ranged in age from 15 to 25.
     Five of the women were prostitutes, while the other was a drug dealer, according to news reports.
     Andrade, a truck driver from Alameda, came to the United States seeking asylum as a political refugee for reasons that are unclear, the reports said.
     Between April 17 and October 26, 2009, Andrade cruised down International Boulevard in Oakland searching for potential victims. Four of the women he approached agreed to go with him because they believed they had negotiated a prostitution transaction, while the others were kidnapped at gunpoint, according to the First Appellate Court’s ruling.
     After arriving at a remote area near High Street and Tidewater Avenue, Andrade would pull a gun, tell the victim he was an undercover police officer, and force her to give him oral sex before raping her. He showed at least one woman a fake silver badge and warned a few others not to tell anyone about the assault, the ruling stated.
     Andrade’s spree came to an end on Oct. 26, when an Emeryville police officer found Andrade assaulting a young prostitute in his truck.
     Alameda County Superior Court Judge Allan Hymer sentenced Andrade to 195 years to life in prison after the jury’s conviction.
     On appeal, Andrade advanced a plethora of arguments why his conviction was improper. These included claims that the trial court excluded evidence from several similar open cases, admitted testimony from the fourth victim into evidence though she was not available for trial, and handed down an excessively long sentence.
     A unanimous three-judge panel of the First Appellate District rejected his arguments and affirmed his conviction last week.
     Andrade argued that the court improperly refused to allow his lawyer to cross-examine police witnesses about four similar reports of an alleged police officer assaulting prostitutes after Andrade’s arrest because the defense could not point to a viable alternative suspect.
     The appellate court rejected his argument.
     That prostitutes continued to be raped at gunpoint is insufficient to cast doubt on Andrade’s guilt because prostitutes are particularly vulnerable to such victimization, Judge Timothy Reardon wrote for the panel. Moreover, using a gun to rape a prostitute while posing as law enforcement is not a unique modus operandi, he added.
     Here, the prosecutor properly argued that the attacks on the six victims were almost identical, not that they were extraordinary crimes no one else but Andrade could have commited, Reardon said.
     The panel also rejected arguments that the prosecution did not do enough to secure Jane Doe 4’s presence at trial, pointing out that investigators called her family, contacted her on her social-media accounts, checked several databases for possible leads on her whereabouts, and even followed up on a potential spouse to no avail.
     Given the prosecution’s due diligence in searching for Jane Doe 4, and because the defense had the opportunity to cross-examine her at the preliminary hearing, admitting her testimony from the hearing did not violate Andrade’s rights, the court ruled.
     Arguments that the trial court improperly applied the multiple-victim circumstance in California’s penal code and that Andrade should therefore have been sentenced to only five terms of 15 years to life rather than the 13 consecutive terms to which he was sentenced did not persuade the appellate court, either.
     Also known as the One Strike Law, section 667.61 comes into play when a defendant has been convicted of egregious sex crimes – including forced oral copulation and forcible rape – against multiple victims.
     Andrade claimed he should only be sentenced to a life sentence for each victim, rather than multiple life sentences for the same victim. But case-law makes clear that the One Strike law applies to each offense, not each victim – meaning that Andrade’s sentence was valid, Reardon wrote.
     His sentence also does not violate laws against punishing a defendant under multiple provisions because he was convicted of multiple crimes committed on separate occasions and is being punished for those crimes, not being punished several times for one crime, according the ruling.
     Finally, his sentence does not qualify as cruel and unusual punishment because “his pattern of targeting young, vulnerable women, coupled with his threats and statements that he was affiliated with law enforcement, demonstrated an intent to avoid detection by intimidating his victims. Under the circumstances, his sentence his neither shocking nor inhumane,” Reardon wrote.
     The judges also dismissed claims that the presence of Jane Doe 3’s support person at trial violated Andrade’s rights; that the prosecution had a duty to instruct the jury on its own regarding incriminating statements he made outside of court and that it should find him not guilty if he could have reasonably believed the women consented to sex; and that instructions to the jury to consider only the evidence eliminated the doctrine of reasonable doubt.
     Accordingly, Andrade “was not deprived of a fair trial” and judgment against him should be affirmed, the appeals court ruled.
     Presiding Judge Ignazio Ruvolo and Judge Maria Rivera joined Reardon’s opinion.
     Andrade’s attorney Joseph Shipp did not immediately return requests for comment.
     California Department of Justice Attorney Arthur Beever also not immediately return requests for comment.

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