Closing Arguments for Child Abuse Case

by Esmeralda Mendoza

The People v. Margarito Alvarez reconvened with closing arguments by both parties. The jury has been sent to deliberate after a four-week jury trial regarding the alleged sexual abuse of three girls.

Deputy District Attorney Deanna Hays, representing the People, began closing arguments Friday morning by explaining to the jury that Mr. Alvarez is clearly guilty of all nine counts of molestation.

The girls, whose ages range from 11 to 17, can be perfect victims because their testimony may seem inconsistent and unreliable, Hays stated. Child molestation victims are usually not accurate when they tell the story and may remember different things. However, this is not to say that Mr. Alvarez is innocent and that the girls are lying.

Ms. Hays asked the jury to think back to when the girls were giving their testimony. The girls were not able to look at the accuser without appearing upset and could not even speak properly. These actions suggest that Mr. Alvarez is guilty of sexually assaulting them.

The prosecutor explained that, although there has been an eight-year delay since the molestation occurred, it does not make Mr. Alvarez any less guilty.

Trying to get the jury on board with her opinion, Ms. Hays carefully explained each count of molestation and how there is sufficient evidence to find Mr. Alvarez completely guilty. She also told them the dates of the Multi-Disciplinary Interviews (MDI) the girls were subjected to, and the arrest dates of Mr. Alvarez.

Expecting a conflicting view from the defense, Ms. Hays admitted that the girls’ mothers may not remember the specific dates when the girls were molested. Nonetheless, this does not make their testimonies any less credible – the incidents occurred many years prior, yet their core ideas were still consistent.

In this case, the law permits that if Mr. Alvarez raped one girl then it counts as evidence that he was likely to have raped another.

Next, the defense began his closing argument on the central idea of lies and the possible motivations the girls had to lie.

He explained that a lie can also be when a person unintentionally tells some things that are not the truth, as perhaps they do not not remember the events correctly.

The defense told the jury that one of the girls did not like Mr. Alvarez since the beginning of their relationship, because she was scared he would replace her dad. This alone, the defense claims, is evidence enough to say that her motive for lying about the rape was to get him out of her life.

The defense also noted that, although she claimed Mr. Alvarez anally raped her, there was no DNA evidence or claims by her doctor that she showed bodily symptoms she had been penetrated.

He also asked the jury to review the MDIs and testimonies of the girls. The jury will see that the girls are inconsistent with their allegations and that they cannot even get their core arguments to match.

Next, the defense attorney told the jury that they must vote not guilty to all nine counts of molestation because it is clear that the girls had motivations to lie about their alleged rapes.

Lastly, the prosecution approached the mic once more for her rebuttal.

She explained that, as children, the girls would have come clean with their lies, if they were lies, as soon as they were separated from their mothers and were subjected to several MDIs and testimonies. Thus, the girls are not lying.

Ms. Hays recalled that one of the expert testimonies stated that only 10 percent of kids who have been raped show signs of penetration. Their bodies are much different than adults and the fact that doctors see no signs of penetration on the girls does not mean they were not molested by Mr. Alvarez.

Once again, Ms. Hays stated that Mr. Alvarez is guilty.

After hearing the closing arguments by the prosecution and defense the jury was sent to deliberate.

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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