Bouquets and Brickbats

Update to 1870s law deserves swift passage

January 11, 2013 

Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian, R-San Luis Obispo, takes the oath of office Monday, Dec. 3, 2012, in Sacramento.

JEFF WALTERS

State Assemblyman Katcho Achadjian deserves a judicious bouquet for pressing for a new law that would broaden the circumstances under which a rape conviction could result in cases involving impersonation.

The proposal stems from an outrageous case in which an 18-year-old woman was raped by a man who entered her bedroom at night and pretended to be her boyfriend. The man was found guilty, but because an archaic law from the 1870s specifies that a conviction can result only if the victim is married and the impersonator pretends to be the victim’s spouse, an appellate court overturned the verdict.

Achadjian introduced legislation last year that would have updated the law, but it stalled in committee.

He was among legislators who introduced a similar bill — AB65 — on Monday. It makes it a crime for someone to impersonate a“spouse, cohabitant, fiancé or someone with whom the victim has a dating relationship” in order to have sexual intercourse.

We urge speedy passage of legislation that’s more than a century overdue.

Candidate’s withdrawal takes cake

San Diego Police Capt. Manny Guaderrama almost became police chief in Paso Robles, until he had a last-minute change of heart.

The Man Who Would Be Chief told city officials that financial reasons were behind his decision to turn down the job. Among them: His wife, an esthetician, would have to close her skin care business if the couple moved to Paso.

But wait a minute, didn’t his wife have a business before Guaderrama threw his hat in the ring? Wouldn’t that have been the ideal time to take stock — not after the city had spent several months and thousands of dollars on the recruitment process?

Sure, it’s fun to flirt with change, but it’s one thing to send out a resume for a job you’re not really sure you want, just to see what happens.

It’s quite another to go through the long, laborious process of applying for a high-ranking public job, accepting an offer, jilting the city, and then offering a weak cop-out about your spouse having to leave a business.

For conduct unbecoming a job applicant, Guaderrama can add a big, fat brickbat to his CV.

Good work on hit-and-run arrest

A big bouquet of cooperation is en route to the parties involved in apprehending the Highway 101 motorist who allegedly crashed into a San Luis Obispo police patrol vehicle Dec. 31, and then fled the scene. (Not the brightest way to end the year.)

The police officer involved, Sgt. Jeff Booth, suffered minor injuries, including scrapes and a cut.

A tip from a sharp-eyed witness who managed to provide a partial license plate number helped lead to the arrest of a 49-year-old Clovis man, as did the joint efforts of law enforcement in San Luis Obispo, Clovis and Santa Maria. It’s good to know that even when suspects hit and run, they can’t hide — at least not for long.

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