A doozy of a case from the Court of Appeals today, where a former State Patrol trooper argued that a woman stuck in the back of his patrol car--where she couldn't open a door or window--was not being "detained" when he asked her to show him her breasts and pubic area and then, through the divider in the car, felt her up. Not surprisingly, the court disagreed.
Former WSP trooper Carlos Torres was convicted of custodial sexual misconduct for the June 2005 incident, which began on I-5 and ended in a Federal Way weigh station for trucks. He stopped a woman (named T.G. in court records) on suspicion of drunk driving, drove her back to the Puyallup Police Station for blood tests, then to the Pierce County Jail, for booking. But the jail was full, so he un-cuffed her and drove her to a Federal Way truck weigh station, where her fiance eventually picked her up. (She wanted her fiance to pick her up at the jail, but Torres refused.) All along, Torres asked her questions about oral and anal sex--T.G. said she felt trapped and scared--and, finally, at the weigh station, escalated his advances to the aforementioned game of show-and-touch.
Custodial sexual misconduct is defined as occurring "(w)hen the victim is being detained, under arrest[,] or in the custody of a law enforcement officer and the perpetrator is a law enforcement officer," Torres argued that being detained meant "restraint pursuant to a lawful arrest." But the court ruled that it meant being restrained in such a way that "a reasonable person wouldn't feel free to leave." And sitting in the back seat of a police car with no ability to open windows or doors and with a gun-possessing officer in the front making sexual advances fits that bill.