Wednesday, January 6, 2016
Court of Appeal Upholds Conviction of Father For Kidnapping of His Own Daughter
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Fifth District Court of Appeal yesterday upheld the kidnapping conviction of a man who broke into the home of his former girlfriend and carried off their infant child, driving off with her.
The court, in an opinion by Justice Charles Poochigian, rejected the contention of defendant Aaron Lafoy Reading that it was a legal impossibility for him to have kidnapped his own daughter since he had full custodial rights.
Poochigian pointed to testimony by the mother, designated in the opinion as “Arlene M.” She recounted that he said of the baby “that she was cute and he could make a lot of money off of her, and he was going to sell her,” specifying that he would go to San Francisco to conduct the transaction.
He took the child, referred to as “E.,” from the mother’s home in Corcoran, located in Kings County, and headed northward.
Poochigian pointed out that it was held in a 1992 case that “while a father entitled to custody ordinarily cannot kidnap his own child, his right to physical custody ends when he exercises it for a purpose known to be illegal….”
“The question of defendant’s intent was squarely placed before the jury, and there is substantial evidence to support the jury’s verdict that he took E. for the illegal purpose of selling her. The prosecution’s theory was that defendant took E., drove north on Highway 99, and was finally stopped over 60 miles from Corcoran because he was going to carry out his long-stated intent to sell the child in San Francisco. There was no evidence that defendant had any connections to friends or another residence in the general direction of where he was traveling.”
The jurist added:
“The day before he took E., defendant sent messages to Arlene and made a passing reference to visitation. He also wrote that it was ‘war,’ things were ‘escalating,’ he was going to ‘shake the world in a few days,’ and most chilling, ‘I don’t really care about the child.’
“Defendant may not have expressly repeated his intent to take the child to San Francisco and sell her in the 30 days prior to removing E. from her crib; however, the entirety of his messages and statements to Arlene and his friends, the manner in which he crept into the house and took the screaming child, and his detention on a northbound highway, 60 miles from his own home, clearly raised a disputed factual issue as to whether he took the child for the illegal purpose of selling her.”
He said that substantial evidence supported the jury’s verdicts on kidnapping, as well as the other counts on which it convicted him.
The case is People v. Reading, F068602
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