Insufficient Evidence of Duress - Example Case

In People v. Espinoza (2002) 95 Cal.App.4th 1287, the court held there was insufficient evidence of duress, reasoning: "The only way that we could say that defendant's lewd act on L. and attempt at intercourse with L. were accomplished by duress is if the mere fact that he was L.'s father and larger than her combined with her fear and limited intellectual level were sufficient to establish that the acts were accomplished by duress. . . . Duress cannot be established unless there is evidence that 'the victim['s] participation was impelled, at least partly, by an implied threat . . . .' No evidence was adduced that defendant's lewd act and attempt at intercourse were accompanied by any 'direct or implied threat' of any kind. While it was clear that L. was afraid of defendant, no evidence was introduced to show that this fear was based on anything defendant had done other than to continue to molest her. It would be circular reasoning to find that her fear of molestation established that the molestation was accomplished by duress based on an implied threat of molestation." (Espinoza, at p. 1321.)