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SIMI VALLEY : '3 Strikes' Law Affects Molestation Suspect

East Ventura County Focus

July 12, 1994|DWAYNE BRAY

A Ventura County judge set an Aug. 2 trial date for a Simi Valley man charged with child molestation under the new "three-strikes-and-you're-out law," rejecting a defense argument that the statute was implemented too quickly.

The decision by Superior Court Judge Charles W. Campbell Jr. means Henry Diaz, 40, will probably become the county's first defendant prosecuted under the law, which went into effect March 7.

Deputy Public Defender Neil B. Quinn argued that Diaz should not have been charged under the law because it was not passed as an emergency measure and should not yet be in effect.

Outside court, Quinn did not question the validity of the statute but said, "It should have gone into effect, like most laws, in January ('95)."

Diaz faces 10 felony counts of child molestation after police said they raided his Sitka Avenue home in March and found him in bed with a 13-year-old girl.

Diaz, who is on parole, has three prior robbery convictions. The victim has told police that she and Diaz had an intimate relationship, according to court testimony.

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