By Novpreet Shoker
Friday afternoon in Department 10, Judge Daniel Maguire decided there was sufficient evidence for charging Miguel Perez with committing lewd acts involving a 4-year-old girl and trying to dissuade a witness, who happens to be the child’s mother.
Deputy District Attorney Carolyn Palumbo brought forward evidence that indicated Perez inappropriately touched a young child, while in the victim’s home. The key witness in today’s preliminary examination was the victim’s mother, who testified to catching Perez in the middle of this assault on her daughter.
Both the witness and defendant do not speak English, and therefore required interpreters to continue with the proceedings, but the court had to settle with Spanish interpreters as opposed to facilitators in the actual language the individuals spoke. With this, the court did experience some confusion and lapses between translations, but at the end Judge Maguire did determine this alternative to be adequate, and ultimately not a complete hindrance.
According to the victim’s mother, Miguel Perez was an employee for Direct TV and had previously installed the system in her home, where she, her husband, and several of her children live. On February 13 of this year, Perez returned under the pretense that there was a “malfunction” with the witness’ television.
Although she denied there being a malfunction, the witness described that Perez walked in anyway. Perez headed upstairs where the television was, and the witness went back to the kitchen because she was making food. When Perez’s defense attorney, Erin Radekin, asked the witness where the children were at this time, she explained that they were playing in and around the house.
After some time, the witness decided to go upstairs and check in with Perez, and she described that, as she approached the third or fourth step from the top of the staircase, she saw Perez’s hand under her daughter’s skirt.
Because the witness could not accurately describe how the defendant was sitting when she saw this incident, she was asked to reenact the scene. According to the witness, Perez was sitting on the corner of the bed in the room, which had him facing the doorway, directly across from the top of the staircase.
The victim’s mother went on to explain that her daughter was about a foot away from Perez’s right knee, bent over at the waist as well as facing the same direction as Perez. Perez’s right hand was stretched out toward her daughter, and his hand was under her skirt, with his arm making a lateral, sweeping motion across her bottom.
Once Perez saw the witness coming toward the room, the witness noticed Perez becoming nervous as he withdrew his hand back to his knee, and began pressing random buttons on the TV remote in his left hand.
The witness began telling the children to go to the living room, and then told the defendant to get out of her home. When he asked why, the witness did not respond out of fear.
As he walked out of the house, the defendant reportedly said something along the lines of “you threw me out, but I didn’t do anything, don’t call the police,” to the witness.
Ms. Radekin cross-examined the witness about the specific incident that occurred in the bedroom. She reaffirmed with the witness that she, the witness, saw Perez’s right hand under her daughter’s skirt, but the attorney then asked several times if the witness saw Perez’s fingers actually touching her daughter’s private parts.
Changing directions, Ms. Radekin then asked about the events following the initial incident.
The witness explained that Perez first called through a private number, asking her to not call the police. After that phone call, Perez came by to the witness’ home once again, asking to speak to her husband.
On redirect, DDA Palumbo asked the witness to indicate, on a children’s doll, where Perez had allegedly touched her daughter. The witness used her arm in a sweeping motion, touching the left side of the doll’s bottom, as the doll’s arms hung forward.
Ms. Radekin again asked the witness if she had seen the defendant’s fingers actually touching the victim’s body. The witness admitted being emotional when she saw what happened, but she was sure that Perez touched her daughter.
At this point, counsel for both sides were done with their questioning of the alleged victim’s mother, and so Judge Maguire excused her.
DDA Palumbo then presented a stipulation to the court, which consisted of testimony from an officer that interviewed the young victim, on February 15. The crucial detail from this evidence is that the defendant’s hand was under the child’s skirt, and the victim claimed that the “TV man touched me on my ‘co-co.’”
Ms. Radekin accepted the stipulation, in an effort to avoid the officer coming in as a witness, to save time.
Judge Maguire then requested final arguments from counsel. Ms. Palumbo ended her statement by adamantly claiming that there was “no justification for [Perez’s actions], other than a sexual purpose.”
Ms. Radekin concluded that the case brought forward by the prosecutor is poorly established.
Ultimately, Judge Maguire did decide to move forward with the charges, based on the victim’s mother’s observations as well as the victim’s interview from Yolo County’s Multi-Disciplinary Interview Center (MDIC).
Perez’s arraignment is set for August 24 at 8:30 A.M. in Department 10.