A prosecutor announced Friday, Jan. 24, that she will seek a 56-year prison term for Daniel Dorado, a La Jolla restauranteur who was convicted of 20 sex charges involving four women.
Sentencing was set for March 13 by San Diego Superior Court Judge Charles Rogers.
Left unresolved is whether Dorado, 61, will stand trial a second time on 12 charges involving three women after a jury deadlocked Dec. 30 on remaining charges.
Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto told Rogers she would prefer having sentencing before Dorado stands trial a second time.
Dorado’s attorney, Kim Santini, objected to the procedure, saying having a sentencing first “is a way of putting pressure on your honor” to impose a long sentence.
“I think the court is able to resist any pressure,” said Rogers. “I’m inclined to go forward with sentencing on the [guilty] counts.”
Dorado was remanded to jail Dec. 20, after the eight-man, four-woman jury convicted him of 20 charges of rape, oral copulation, and digital penetration of an intoxicated or unconscious person. He was also convicted of four counts of assault with intent to commit rape.
Jurors recessed for Christmas, and the jury foreman and another juror were replaced by alternates. They continued deliberations Dec. 30, but ran out of jurors who could serve longer, resulting in a mistrial on the remaining counts.
Dorado had been free on $900,000 bond during his December trial, but Rogers said he had no right to bail once he was convicted of many counts.
Dorado sat in court and was dressed in blue jail clothes near his attorney. He waived his right to have a speedy retrial.
“Rape of an intoxicated person is mandatory prison,” said Coto afterward.
Santini agreed but added that she will ask for probation anyway in hopes the judge could strike some verdicts or make a ruling in favor of probation.
One problem is California Penal Code section 654, which bars consecutive terms for the same set of circumstances, Coto noted afterward. He might not receive the maximum sentence.
Dorado was convicted of four counts of assault with intent to commit rape, but he cannot be sentenced consecutively for that because jurors convicted him of rape of an intoxicated or unconscious person involving the same victim.
Seven women testified they became extremely intoxicated while with Dorado and passed out, only to wake up while being sexually assaulted. An eighth woman testified she was not raped, and jurors acquitted him of three counts involving her.
Seven of the 8 women testified they thought Dorado put something in their wine or Champagne to cause them to black out, but only one of them had traces of a drug that is prescribed for coughs and should not be taken with alcohol.
Investigators could not find any chemicals in Dorado’s restaurant, Voce Del Mare, or his home. The restaurant, located at 5721 La Jolla Blvd. in Bird Rock, has been closed since March 18, 2018, when he was arrested.
The women ranged in ages from 22 to 57 at the time. Some of the women were applying for a job with Dorado, and others met him on a dating website. One woman was a customer at the restaurant.
The incidents occurred in 2009, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2018.
Dorado testified Dec. 11 that all sexual activity was consensual. He said they were all aware of where they were and what they were doing. He denied putting any date rape drug in their drinks.
Dorado remains in the George Bailey Detention Facility without bail.