Case # 14CF1874
Date: April 16, 2015
OCDA FILES NOTICE OF APPEAL OF SENTENCE IN SEXUAL ASSAULT CASE OF TODDLER
*Mandatory minimum sentence if convicted requires 25 years to life in prison
SANTA ANA – The Orange County District Attorney’s Office (OCDA) filed a notice of appeal today in the Orange County Superior Court to overturn a sentence of 10 years determinate in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration for a sexual assault case of a toddler with a mandatory minimum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration.
Circumstances of the Case
On June 4, 2014, Rojano-Nieto was in a garage detached from the Santa Ana house playing video games when 3-year-old Jane Doe walked in. Rojano-Nieto became sexually aroused upon seeing her, locked the garage door, and then sexually assaulted Jane Doe by sodomizing her. When Jane Doe’s mother went to look for the victim and approached the garage door, the defendant covered Jane Doe’s mouth. When the victim’s mother left to continue looking for Jane Doe, Rojano-Nieto continued the sexual assault by using his hand to force Jane Doe to touch his penis.
At trial, the defendant’s statements were introduced as to what happened that day, “I just, um,…picked her up and then pulled down her pants and *** five seconds … put my penis in…In her butt. Uh, I just *** thinking dirty things like this.”
Once Rojano-Nieto let the victim out of the garage, Jane Doe met her mother inside the house and told her she was in pain. That same day, Jane Doe’s mother took the victim to St. Joseph’s Urgent Care in Santa Ana, who upon examining the toddler found physical injuries consistent with the assault. Hospital officials then involved social services and the Santa Ana Police Department, who investigated this case.
On June 6, 2014, the OCDA filed a complaint against Rojano-Nieto, charging the defendant with one felony count of sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child 10 years or younger.
On June 11, 2014, Rojano-Nieto was arraigned in Department CJ-1 of the Central Jail, and pleaded not guilty.
On June 19, 2014, upon receiving new information, the OCDA filed an amended complaint adding one felony count of a lewd act upon a child under 14.
On July 21, 2014, Rojano-Nieto was in court for a preliminary hearing and was held to answer to both felony counts, and on Aug. 5, 2014, Rojano-Nieto pleaded not guilty to both counts.
On Dec. 1, 2014, opening statements in Rojano-Nieto’s jury trial began. The trial lasted two days.
On Dec. 3, 2014, a jury found Rojano-Nieto guilty of one felony count of sexual intercourse or sodomy with a child 10 years or younger and one felony count of a lewd act upon a child under 14. The defendant was facing a sentence ranging from the minimum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison to the maximum of 33 years to life in state prison.
On Feb. 6, 2015, during the scheduled sentencing hearing, a victim impact statement written by Jane Doe’s mother was read by Jane Doe’s father explaining how difficult it has been for her family and the struggle they still face. The court ordered the OCDA to submit a brief on Eighth Amendment issues on the court’s own motion.
On April 3, 2015, at Rojano-Nieto’s sentencing, the court, over the People’s objection, sentenced Rojano-Nieto to 10 years determinate in state prison and mandatory lifetime sex offender registration citing that 25 years to life in state prison was cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution.
On April 16, 2015, OCDA filed a notice of appeal in Orange County Superior Court to overturn Rojano-Nieto’s sentence of 10 years determinate in state prison.