Mistrial declared on La Jolla restauranteur's remaining charges
by NEAL PUTNAM
Published - 12/31/19 - 10:23 AM | 1864 views | 0 0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print

A mistrial on the remaining charges against La Jolla restaurateur Daniel Dorado was declared Monday, Dec. 30, after jurors deadlocked on six remaining counts involving two women.

Dorado, 61, was convicted Dec. 20, of 20 sexual assault counts involving four women whom he met at Voce Del Mare at 5721 La Jolla Blvd., before it closed after his arrest on March 28, 2018. He was acquitted of three counts.

Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto said Dorado faces a 22-year maximum sentence in prison. A sentencing date will be set on Jan. 24, when prosecutors will likely announce if Dorado will face a second trial.

Dorado, wearing jail clothing because he was remanded to jail Dec. 20, sat at the defense table and said nothing. He testified Dec. 11 that all sexual acts with eight women aged 22-57 were consensual. He also denied putting anything into their alcoholic drinks that caused seven of them to blackout.

The mistrial was declared at 5:08 p.m. after jurors simply ran out of time — and jurors. Only 11 jurors were available after Dec. 30, and 12 jurors are needed to reach a verdict. Three of the four alternates became jurors with the fourth alternate having to leave mid-trial.

The trial, which was estimated to last two weeks, began Dec. 2, but it took three weeks including four days of deliberations. Monday marked the start of the fourth week of trial.

The five women and seven men on the jury had to elect a new foreman Monday because the jury foreman became ill and had to be replaced on Dec. 20 after partial verdicts were read. There was a procedural delay Monday, causing them to not start deliberating until 11 a.m. and they discussed the case until 5 p.m.

The jury foreman told Rogers "a large number favor guilty" verdicts involving the six remaining counts. The foreman said they deadlocked 10-2 and 7-5 on the remaining counts. Jurors earlier deadlocked on six counts involving two other women.

"I am impressed beyond words," said Rogers to the panel about their jury service.

Attorneys afterward expressed frustration at not being able to talk to departing jurors. The building was essentially closed when jurors left and they didn't stick around.

"Some jurors believed us and some didn't," said attorney Kim Santini, who represents Dorado.

Coto said she thought the jury may have been able to reach additional verdicts if they had more time and people.

Seven women testified they became extremely intoxicated after having drinks with Dorado. Many testified they woke up and realized he was having sex with them, and they blacked out again. Many could not recall precisely what had happened.

One woman testified Dec. 2, she woke up in a La Jolla hotel room and discovered her clothes were put on backwards and her glasses were broken. Many women reported what happened to police, but there was no trace of any drug in their system when they were treated at a hospital.

Several women testified they woke up and discovered they were naked either in the restaurant or a hotel room, or Dorado's residence.

Santini and co-counsel Eric Youngquist argued that the sex acts were consensual and the women had all been drinking alcohol. An eighth woman insisted she had not been raped. Jurors acquitted Dorado of three counts involving her.

Another woman testified she struck "a bargain" with Dorado by engaging in oral sex as she did not want to have sexual intercourse. Several women reported that Dorado bit their breasts, and photos of injuries were shown to jurors.

Dorado denied biting women's breasts, saying he never did that. He testified "I give women's breasts attention." He also said the women were lying about the accusations.

Dorado has been convicted of six counts of rape of an unconscious or intoxicated person, and six counts of oral copulation with an unconscious or intoxicated person. He was also found guilty of four counts of digital penetration of an unconscious or intoxicated person and four counts of assault with intent to commit rape.

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