In extreme Los Angeles sex crime cases, it may seem there is very little a Los Angeles criminal lawyer can do. Usually, the prosecution and the media paint every sex crime defendant as a pedophile or "dirty old man" when in reality most cases are incredibly complex. However, there are those cases that are so terrible, they perpetuate the stereotype.
Lindolfo Thibes was convicted on Friday, April 17th on numerous counts of both sexual and physical abuse of his 29 year-old daughter. Thibes daughter, whose name has been withheld from the media because she is a victim of sexual abuse, told police that physical and sexual abuse from her father began when she was just six years old and the family lived in Los Angeles. At eight years old, Thibes began plying his daughter with alcohol and marijuana, sexually assaulting her an estimated 10 times per week.
Thibes daughter testified that her father would fly into paranoid rages and beat both her and her younger brother with a baseball bat, accusing her of sneaking out to meet boys and forbidding her to leave their home alone. Thibes daughter, who is now 29, had three children with her father, the first at 17 years old. In 2003, Thibes grew fearful that his son had told Los Angeles police about the frequent abuse and took his daughter and their three children to Las Vegas, where he told neighbors she was his girlfriend.
They remained in Las Vegas until 2005 when police arrested Thibes for stabbing his daughter twice in the chest with a 10-inch kitchen knife. Thibes daughter confessed her fathers history of sexual abuse to hospital workers after her father was taken into custody by Las Vegas police and she knew her three children were in safe from him in protective custody. Thibes oldest daughter moved back to California to raise her three children while police investigated the case. Thibes pled guilty to stabbing his daughter, but denied ever sexually abusing her, telling authorities he didnt know how she could "make such accusations after the good upbringing he had provided her."
Thibes represented himself in court, telling the Los Angeles Superior Court Judge he had been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic and complaining of fraudulent evidence and perjured testimony. DNA testing by Los Angeles prosecutors confirmed that he is both the father and grandfather of the three children his eldest daughter gave birth to. The jury deliberated just three hours before finding him guilty of numerous counts of rape and sexual assault spanning over the last decade. The judge in the case sentenced him to 109 years to life in prison in a case that Los Angeles police describe as one of the worst cases of child abuse they had dealt with. In California, more serious sex offenses such as rape or sexual assault carry a prison sentence of up to eight years.
sex crime accusations
Comments:Mikhail Silin CS 139 on June 6, 2009 at 9:43 p.m. wrote:
In this case, I think the crime is so heinous that even the best Gerry Spence tricks might not get you the verdict you want. Personally, I would not defend this man. I believe in getting a fair trial and everything, but if it is so clear that this man ruined his daughter's life, getting him a lower sentence based on a technicality would not sit right with me. It is not surprising that the guy had to represent himself. It is obvious that with enough money and good lawyers, yes it is possible to argue so well and so long that you get the verdict you want. This is especially true if there was something done in the investigation that you would not want to happen again, for example the racism in OJ Simpson's case (I know that some people think otherwise and think Simpson should have been convicted, but at least I think we can agree that stopping racism in a police investigation CAN be an opposing issue... just maybe not to a double murder). Anyway, if I was representing Thibes, I would not find any problems in speaking from the heart. I would be arguing against a man who was found trying to STAB his daughter in the chest, and then arguing out of it by saying he gave her a great upbringing and, by the way, he has schizophrenia and numerous other defenses in his pocket as well. On paper, this is a scary man that I would want to put away not only from a legal perspective, but to give my client some closure on her horrible childhood. It sucks that it took this long for her to come out with the story though. Going through 23 years of abuse from your father is something unimaginable and horrifying. It sucks knowing that children are raised this way, and are denied a chance from the start.
Jennifer Phan on June 2, 2009 at 10:44 p.m. wrote:
The bizarre details of the case remind us all that sex crimes often times go unnoticed. This is not the first time I have come across a case like this. Often times, victims are psychologically disconnected from reality and have no understanding that the action committed was wrong. With that said, it is truly disheartening to know that a father would commit such offenses against his own daughter. Mental disorder or not, Thibes no doubt robbed his daughter of the right to live a normal and peaceful life. The mere thought of him bringing his daughter into this world, only so she can emerge as a sex crime victim due to his uncontrollable desires, goes to show that people like him are a danger to society and should not be free to stroll city streets. Thibes' daughter and her three children are forever scarred and will never lead a normal life because of this man. Moreover, coming up with a defense for such a man will definitely prove difficult. If a jury trial is probable, the defense must build a strong case based on emotion and psychology rather than governing laws. The jury must feel empowered to do the right thing based on ethics and their perspective on the evidence presented rather than to conjure up a verdict based on the laws relevant to the case.
Puja Patel, UCLA on June 2, 2009 at 9:15 a.m. wrote:
I agree that the defense would have a difficult time garnering sympathy for Mr. Thibes from the jury. Instead, the Defense would have to work at casting a reasonable doubt against the evidence in the prosecution's case. For example, the defense can deny that Thibes' daughter was impregnated against her will. The fact that she has not one, but three children with her father, may provide evidence that she did not attempt to try to run away. I understand that she may continue to suffer psychologically as a result of the abuse, but the defense can argue that if she truly wanted to leave her father and cease having children with him, she would leave him. Although I am not familiar with the details of the case, from what I have read here, she was not physically restrained from leaving the house or calling for help. Within the twelve years that she had her three children, there must have been some opportunity for her to call for help or run away. This reminds me a lot of the Josef Fritzl case that gained much popularity last year in Austria. However, in that case, Fritzl had forced his daughter to live in a basement and repeatedly raped her, resulting in seven children. Fritzl's daughter had no option--her mother along with her brothers and sisters were living right upstairs, but she could not contact them. In the end, this is a sad case, and hopefully justice is served appropriately.
Tania Bakar on May 18, 2009 at 4:10 p.m. wrote:
This case is extremely disturbing. After reading the assigned chapters in Gerry Spence's book, How to Argue and WIn Every Time, it seems that nothing in there could possibly help Lindolfo Thibes. He did extremely despicable and disgusting things to his daughter. Although he was diagnosed as a schizophrenic, it did not seem to help his punishment, 109 years of prison. The interesting thing about this case is that the daughter did not come out before she was 29 years old to say anything. Granted he was abusing her ever since she was six, and she probably suffers from some severe phycological stresses, it is still interesting to me that she did not say anything sooner. In cases such as these, what is the defense lawyer meant to do? How does the defense lawyer sympathize or even begin to understand their client? This case in particular obviously seems worse than most sexual assault cases. Not only did the defendant do something that is so taboo in this country, he took it one step further and impregnated his daughter THREE TIMES! I think when there is a case, such as this, that is just awful there is not much one can do for the defendant. Especially when there is so much evidence showing that he did in fact abuse his daughter, after he had stated he had not. These cases are probably extremely complicated, and I cannot even begin to imagine how difficult this type of case must be for a defense lawyer.
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