Tooraj Nakhei: Can't Be Convicted For Date Rape Because He's Nuts

Nakhei: The "I'm coocoo!" defense fails after date rape.
After using a Persian Internet dating service, Nooraj Aghmiyouni Nakhei of Oregon flew to Orange County in 2003 to meet an Iranian woman who'd recently immigrated to the United States. The two met for a drink and ate lunch. But she decided there was no romantic spark.

Four years later, Nakhei, then 51, returned and invited the 42-year-old woman to dinner in his hotel even though she still was not interested in dating him. He lured her to his room after dinner by saying he had flowers for her. Once there, however, he grabbed her, threw her on the bed, stripped her and raped her for 30 minutes, according to police records.

Feeling shame, the woman did not immediately report the assault and later received an email from Nakhei. He wrote, "I was [a] stupid, selfish animal. And I hate myself. . ."

The apology wasn't accepted. She told him to stay away. But during a three month period, he called the woman's sister 113 times, contacted her mother and then began physically stalking the victim, whom he called "sweetheart."

Five months after the rape, the woman notified police. Nakhei still couldn't accept rejection. He continued to call and email. She obtained a restraining order. Still no luck. When the woman drove into her apartment complex parking lot, he ran up to her car, tried to open the door and threatened retaliation if she testified against him in court.

During his 2009 trial, Nakhei unsuccessfully insisted that all witness take an oath on the Koran, argued repeatedly with his own defense lawyer, criticized the racial composition of the jury, made weird gestures at jurors, stared intensely at witnesses, interrupted proceedings with rambling statements, refused to comply with instructions from a bailiff and, on the witness stand, had temper tantrums aimed at the prosecutor and judge.

The jury convicted Nakhei on charges of stalking, rape, forcible oral copulation, dissuading a witness and disobeying a court order. Before sentencing, an Irvine psychologist diagnosed him as suffering from a "delusional disorder" and "abnormal" brain functions. But Superior Court Judge David A. Thompson decided this defendant wasn't crazy enough to avoid punishment. Thompson eventually sentenced him to 15 years and eight months in a California prison.
Nakhei appealed, claiming that he shouldn't have been convicted because he says he's really nuts and the victim's testimony should have been excluded from the jury because she is biased against him.

No means no, dude.
This week, a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana consider his arguments and rejected them. Pointing to a U.S. Supreme Court ruling, the justices noted that "more is required" to be considered crazy "than mere bizarre actions or bizarre statements." In a 36-page opinion written by Justice Richard Fybel, the appeals court also determined that the woman's testimony was proper and "rational" evidence.

Note to Iranian American women: Mark your calendars. Warn your friends. The rapist could be released from prison sometime after 2023.

--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

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