Kenneth Sands was convicted on July 3 of "inappropriately touching women and teenage girls." But he tried to defend himself at his sentencing with the claim that his behavior was due to "an excessive intake of caffeine." The court rejected his defense.
According to Lalate.com, the "serial groper" lost a "caffeine defense" in a Seattle criminal case. The 52-year-old bus driver for the Rainier School District was convicted of molesting three teenage high school girls and two women at a volleyball game on October 18, 2011.
According to ABC News, the first groping incident occurred during the game when Sands “allegedly touched a 46-year-old woman’s breasts multiple times and later tried to grab her butt as she was trying to get away from him."
Court documents said that after the game, Sands groped two teenage girls. He also groped another female student in an "inappropriate manner." According to the sheriff's office, the "bus driver kicked him off the bus."
In his defense, Sands argued that his behavior was a result of caffeine and that his behavior on that day was not representative of his normal behavior, ABC News reports. According to Lalate.com, Sands claimed that excessive caffeine caused psychotic episodes that led him to grope women in public. Lalate reports he argued that the coffee “...caused a psychotic episode. My son-in-law and daughter had never seen that kind of behavior from myself."
One of the victims wrote a letter that was read in court. The letter read: “Ken left me with nightmares that would leave me sleepless for nights, afraid to fall asleep. I’ve had dreams of him hurting me and my family in violent ways over and over again.”
ABC News reports that Dr. Martin Blinder, the psychiatrist who presented the famous "Twinkie defense" in the 1979 trial of Supervisor Dan White, said he had never heard of caffeine induced groping. According to Blinder, the "Twinkie defense" was different from the "caffeine defense." Blinder successfully used the "Twinkie defense" to prevent a first-degree murder conviction of White for the 1978 assassination of San Francisco City Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone. White's attorneys argued that he suffered from depression. Blinder had defended White in court, saying: “When someone gets depressed and abandons his diet, eats junk food, and if you are already on a downward spiral, I can tell you that eating junk food is not therapeutic. If you ever read the label on a Twinkie, only two of the ingredients sound like food products.”
According to Blinder, coffee is different because it is made out of coffee beans that are natural and free of artificial ingredients. He said: "We have no evidence that coffee is harmful. In fact, there is some evidence that drinking it in one’s old age can assist in some Alzheimer’s cases."
Blinder, however, admitted that heavy users of caffeine experience some withdrawal symptoms when they try to stop using it. The symptoms include cravings, headaches and restlessness. He said: “But going out and molesting women is not one of those symptoms."
Webpronews reports this is not the first time someone has presented a "caffeine defense." In 2010, a Kentucky man who strangled his wife blamed the act on excessive intake of caffeine from sodas, energy drinks and diet pills.
ABC News reports Sands has been sentenced to 30 days for each of the five count of fourth-degree assault, totaling five months in jail.