In People v. Douglas Richard Britt, 104 Cal.App.4th 500 (2002), Britt appealed his sentence of 17 years in state prison for burglary, indecent exposure, and “annoying or molesting a child.” On appeal, he claimed insufficiency of the evidence, improper admission of uncharged instances of sexual misconduct, and instructional error. The court of appeal affirmed.
In footnote 1 (which seems to be sort of a non sequitor anyway given its placement in the text) the court wrote as follows:
Britt admitted he was convicted of indecent exposure in the Lynn B. case while represented by counsel, but claimed that he understood the plea “nolo contendere” to mean “not guilty.” The sentencing judge did not place him on probation or impose any other punishment, but instead told him to report to spring training camp with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Id. at 503 n1 (emphasis added). Sentenced to spring training camp for indecent exposure involving a child???!!! (There is no other reference to baseball or anything remotely like it to explain this footnote anywhere else in the opinion.)
If you’ve registered with Findlaw.com, you should be able to read the opinion here for free (or you can find it here by following the directions to the search screen and entering “104 Cal.App.4th 500”).
UPDATE: Bonus points to any reader who can provide me with any information whatsoever about Douglas Richard Britt’s baseball career (with the Pirates or anywhere else). I can find neither hide nor hair of it. [UPDATE: The comments below now have information about Mr. Britt’s career.]
UPDATE: A gentleman has taken issue with this post in several comments (below) that I’ll let speak for themselves. He thinks Mr. Britt was wrongly and unfairly convicted and that I am making light of it while perpetuating several inaccuracies about his case.
Specifically, he contends that Mr. Britt was not “sentenced” to spring training, and that “Lynn B.” was not a child.
As for whether he was “sentenced,” the footnote quoted above says that the “sentencing judge . . . told him to report to spring training camp . . . .” I suppose technically if a judge “tells you to do something” after you plead nolo contendere to a misdemeanor, it may not be a “sentence.” Perhaps I should have said that the judge “ordered him to spring training camp.”
As for Lynn B., after carefully re-reading the decision, it is unclear what Lynn’s age was at the time of the alleged event, so I should not have characterized it as “indecent exposure involving a child.” Here’s what the case says about Lynn B. in its entirety:
Two witnesses testified as to Britt’s propensity for committing sexual misconduct. Lynn B. testified that in 1978, she was driving her car in Orange County and stopped for a red light. Britt, who was driving a delivery-type truck with a side door, pulled alongside and honked to gain her attention. When she looked over, he opened the door, and appeared completely nude, masturbating in front of her with a full erection. Britt was caught immediately and pleaded guilty [actually it was nolo contendere] to misdemeanor indecent exposure.
Id. at 503. So it is not clear how old Lynn B. was at the time. It appears that she was at least old enough to be driving, and I should not have characterized her as a “child.”
However, the published opinion discusses other instances in which Mr. Britt was alleged (I have no way of knowing whether these allegations are true or not, but they’re all in the published case) to have exposed himself to or masturbated in front of a 14-year-old named Heather H., a 10-year-old named Sarah H., and a 12-year-old named Sara M. In addition, he had an earlier conviction from 1987 for “violating Penal Code section 288, subdivision (a) (lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under the age of 14.)” Id. at 502-03, 504 n2. So I think my mistake about Lynn B.’s unspecified age is understandable.
To my commentor: It may be that Mr. Britt is the most upstanding individual ever, that all these allegations against him are false, and that he has been wrongfully convicted. I have no idea and no way of knowing. All this started because I noted a peculiar footnote in a random published case. It is not personal.
P.S. I reserve the right to edit or delete any comments that identify other individuals by name (if their names are not public), or any comments that are obscene or threatening. Other than that, I’m happy to allow others to use this weblog to present their views of Mr. Britt and his legal problems in the comments, which appear below.