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Only Men Can Be Flashers, Judge Says

October 21, 2006|Sara Lin | Times Staff Writer

A Riverside County judge dismissed an indecent exposure charge against a woman who allegedly disrobed in front of a 14-year-old boy, saying the law applies only to men.

Superior Court Judge Robert W. Armstrong said this week that the law mentions a person who "exposes his person."

"Usually when a section proscribes conduct, it's 'his or her.' This one is not," Armstrong said. "It's gender specific."

Riverside County Deputy Dist. Atty. Alison N. Norton argued that the lack of a feminine reference in the penal code was a typo and that solely applying the law to men would violate the state Constitution.

But Armstrong was not convinced.

"I'm just telling you what it says," he said. "So on that basis, this case is dismissed. And the people can take an appeal from the dismissal."

District attorney spokeswoman Ingrid Wyatt said prosecutors would appeal the decision, first reported by the Riverside Press-Enterprise. She cited a section of state law that said the penal code applied to men and women.

Alexis Luz Garcia, 40, of Corona, was cited for a misdemeanor in May after she allegedly gave the boy, her neighbor, a full-frontal view as he played basketball in the yard next door.

The charge carries a maximum sentence of one year in jail and requires the defendant to register as a sex offender.

Garcia had complained to the boy that he was making too much noise as he played. When he didn't stop playing, she went out onto her sundeck.

"He looked up at her, she looked down at him, and she disrobed," Norton said.

The boy ran inside and told his parents, who complained to Garcia. When she threatened to do it every time he played basketball, his parents called police, Wyatt said. The family has since moved out of the neighborhood.

"The whole incident is strange," Wyatt said.

"I think the woman probably could've resolved this by complaining to the parents, but she didn't."

The trial had been scheduled to begin Monday when Armstrong made his ruling.

Earlier in the day, Armstrong told the prosecutor he thought Garcia's disrobing was "very silly and illegal conduct" but not serious enough to require her to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life.

Armstrong dismissed the case after a recess.

sara.lin@latimes.com

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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