At the age of 36 in September 2009, Orange County's Travis Theodore Lassiter had already hit key milestones.
Lassiter–a serial wife beater prone to hissy fits–had been sent to prison a whopping four times and knew that if he committed another felony under California's Three Strikes Law he'd return to a nasty prison cell for a lengthy stay.
But he just couldn't help himself.
After drinking booze in Fountain Valley near Mile Square Park, Lassiter punched his wife in the face.
The blow put the woman on the sidewalk and caused profuse bleeding from the left side of her face.
his 2010 jury trial, he denied striking his wife but said he might have
pushed her down. Jurors didn't buy it and convicted him. Orange County
Superior Court Judge David A. Thompson then handed him a ticket back to prison.
Lassiter appealed, claiming that his punch did not technically qualify as causing great bodily harm. The point wasn't moot. The jury's acceptance of that enhancement meant a more severe punishment.
This week, a California Court of Appeal
based in Santa Ana rejected his complaint. The justices noted that the woman's
wound had been quite painful and serious enough that it required doctors to stitch it
closed, facts that reasonably led the jury to qualify it as a great
Upshot: Lassiter will continue to serve his 11-year prison sentence at the California Correctional Institution at Tahechapi.
CNN-featured investigative reporter R. Scott Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; earned six dozen other reporting awards; obtained one of the last exclusive prison interviews with Charles Manson disciple Susan Atkins; won inclusion in Jeffrey Toobin’s The Best American Crime Reporting for his coverage of a white supremacist’s senseless murder of a beloved Vietnamese refugee; launched multi-year probes that resulted in the FBI arrests and convictions of the top three ranking members of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department; and gained praise from New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing entrenched Southern California law enforcement corruption.