Greg Haidl: Stop Making Me Publicly Register As a Sex Offender!
For Gregory Scott Haidl, being the centerpiece of what became known as Orange County's internationally infamous Haidl Gang Rape case means never genuinely saying you're sorry and always searching for an angle to weaken rendered punishment.
Photo courtesy of the California Attorney General's Office Greg Haidl
Haidl, who made a child-porn video of himself and two buddies sexually assaulting an unconscious, 16-year-old girl on a Corona del Mar sofa and pool table in 2002, received (along with co-defendants Kyle Nachreiner and Keith Spann) six-year prison terms and, because of the warped nature of their acts, lifetime requirements to register publicly as sex offenders.
Though the 28-year-old Haidl has served his prison stint, he believes he was unconstitutionally wronged by Superior Court Judge Francisco Briseño's 2006, sex-offender registration condition that mandates public access to his photo, his crimes, physical descriptions--including tattoos (skull and crossbones on his abdomen)--and alleged city of residence (San Clemente), but not his street address.
This judicial nugget annoys the privacy-seeking convicted felon who has repeatedly sought to overturn his conviction or, at least, the registration requirement. In 2010, the California Court of Appeal in Santa Ana rejected his argument. The following year, the California Supreme Court did the same. Most recently, he has taken his cause to U.S. District Court.
According to Haidl's federal lawsuit, the conviction should be overturned because his chief defense lawyer, Joseph G. Cavallo, gave incompetent legal aid, made boneheaded court moves designed to increase legal fees, and placed a greater emphasis on winning publicity for himself than defeating prosecutors. It also claims Briseño erred by blocking important defense evidence designed to portray the victim as sexually promiscuous and by improperly mandating the registration requirement without necessary jury permission.
The most controversial claim--Cavallo's alleged incompetence--mostly deals with Haidl's assertion that he could have cut his prison exposure in half and avoided the registration mandate if he'd accepted a trial-eve plea bargain crafted by Al Stokke, another defense lawyer, with prosecutors. Stokke and Haidl's father, then-Assistant Orange County Sheriff Don Haidl, passionately insisted he accept the deal.
But the younger Haidl says Cavallo convinced him to ignore the proposal by guaranteeing he'd win an acquittal of the charges that included the defendants repeatedly shoving an apple-juice can, Snapple bottle, lit cigarette and pool cue into the victim's vagina and rectum.