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In re R.C.

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Fourth Division

August 28, 2019

In re R.C., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
R.C., Defendant and Appellant.

          APPEAL from orders of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. FJ55675 Benjamin R. Campos, Juvenile Court Referee. Affirmed.

          Law Offices of Esther R. Sorkin and Esther R. Sorkin under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

          Xavier Becerra, Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Michael C. Keller and Esther P. Kim, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

          CURREY, J.

         This case underscores the critical need to educate our youth about the evils of misogyny and sexual bullying, and the virtues of respect, kindness, and compassion. In late 2017, R.C., then a high school student, used his cellphone to record a video of a classmate, K.V. - without her knowledge or permission - while they were engaged in consensual sex. K.V. repeatedly asked him to delete the video. In response, R.C. unsuccessfully tried to condition deletion of the video on K.V.'s agreement to have sex with R.C.'s friend. The juvenile court found R.C. had committed an unauthorized invasion of privacy pursuant to Penal Code[1] section 647, subdivision (j)(3)(A). On appeal, R.C. contends there was insufficient evidence the cellphone was “concealed” as required by the statute. We disagree and affirm. We publish to provide an authoritative interpretation of “concealed” as used in section 647, subdivision (j)(3)(A).

         FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         The People filed a Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 petition alleging then 17-year-old R.C. had committed two misdemeanors: unauthorized invasion of privacy (§ 647, subd. (j)(3), count 1) and distribution of obscene matter (§ 311.2, subd. (a), count 2). R.C. denied the allegations.

         The People's sole witness at the jurisdiction hearing was K.V., who testified she and R.C. were classmates, and she believed they were friends. They agreed to have sexual intercourse at the home of Emilio, another classmate who was a friend of R.C. R.C. and K.V. arrived at the house, and Emilio directed them to a bedroom. The couple entered and closed the door. No one else was in the bedroom, and K.V. believed they were in “a private circumstance.”

         K.V. testified, “We started having sexual intercourse and then there was a moment when [R.C] said, ‘I'm recording, okay,' and then I turned around and the camera, it was right in my face.” The camera was pointed at K.V. K.V. had not agreed to being video-recorded and told R.C. to stop. They stopped having sex. K.V. was unable to convince R.C. either to surrender the cellphone or to delete the video-recording.

         R.C. then left the room with his phone. After K.V. dressed, she followed him out and found him talking with Emilio. K.V. repeatedly asked R.C. to delete the video, but he refused. “And then after 3 attempts, ” K.V. testified, R.C. finally said, “‘Okay, if you have sex with Emilio.'” After K.V. declined, R.C. unsuccessfully continued to attempt to blackmail her into performing various sex acts with Emilio in exchange for deleting the video. K.V testified: “He said, ‘Give him oral sex,' and then I said, ‘No,' and I kept saying ‘No.”'[2] When K.V. appealed to Emilio for help convincing his friend to delete the recording, he responded, “That's your problem.” R.C. and Emilio then left the house.

         Later that day, K.V. informed R.C. several times she would report him if he did not delete the video. Eventually he told her he had done so. But a month or two later, she heard comments from other people saying “Oh, I saw in the video, ” or “I heard of a video, ” causing her to report the incident.

         On cross-examination of K.V., the following exchange occurred:

         “Defense counsel: So you testified that at one point during sexual intercourse with [R.C.], he said, ‘I'm recording, okay,' is that correct?

         K.V.: Yes.

         Defense counsel: And at that point you looked and you saw he was ...


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