Rape by Drugs Cases In California

In cases involving "rape by drugs" (People v. Wojahn (1959) 169 Cal. App. 2d 135, 141 337 P.2d 192), the courts also focussed on the effect of the drug on the recipient in determining whether the evidence was sufficient. In 1911, one glass of red wine served to prosecutrix by a waiter at a restaurant during a dinner with the defendant that lasted from 5:00 to 11:30 p.m., left the prosecutrix feeling weak and dizzy as she left the restaurant. She walked with the defendant to a hotel where the defendant booked a room. She did not speak to the landlord or ask for help. She fell asleep immediately when she went to bed. She testified she knew it was wrong to go with the defendant, but she did not speak to anyone because " 'I did not know what I was doing; I was under the drug.' " (People v. Crosby (1911) 17 Cal. App.. 518, 523 120 P. 441.) The next day, her mother thought she was a nervous wreck, that she seemed dazed, and was sometimes incoherent. Her eyes were dull, and her memory was not so good. Thirty-six hours after the event, a physician found her to be very nervous with a rapid and weak pulse. He believed she was under the effect of a narcotic. The reviewing court found this evidence sufficient to sustain the conviction; nevertheless, prosecutorial misconduct required a reversal. In 1959 in People v. Wojahn, supra, 169 Cal. App. 2d 135, the prosecutrix consulted the defendant, a physician, for chest pains and because she feared tuberculosis. The defendant administered a shot which he said was to cut the mucous in her throat and a capsule to quiet her nerves. He was familiar with the administration of anesthetics involving combinations of drugs. After receiving the drugs, prosecutrix "was unable in standing against a wall with her eyes closed to touch her nose with her fingers. She felt light and relaxed, her feet felt glued to the floor, and she felt as though her body were swaying." (Id. at p. 139.) Nevertheless, she remained capable of feeling the defendant having one or more acts of sexual intercourse with her. the defendant told her he "did that" to raise her blood pressure. (Ibid.) A neighbor whose help prosecutrix sought observed her to be nervous, upset, red-eyed, her lipstick smeared, her hair mussed, and her legs shaking. The neighbor accompanied prosecutrix to the police station where the police captain observed her hair to be disheveled, her eyes red, and she was crying, hysterical, and appeared to be drugged. Later, she was examined by a doctor at the county hospital, although she was not tested for drugs. the doctor observed her to be nervous and excited, a condition consistent with the possibility of a sexual assault. the People's expert testified that her symptoms as related would indicate that she was under the influence of drugs. ( People v. Wojahn, supra, 169 Cal. App. 2d at p. 139.) The Wojahn court stated, "Rape by drugs may be proved by circumstances and surroundings.