Death penalty tossed in killing of rocker's mom

Started by turboprinz, July 27, 2012, 05:43:58 AM

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turboprinz

Updated: 7/17/2012 10:48 AM
By PAUL ELIAS - Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO -- The California Supreme Court on Monday tossed out the death sentence of a man convicted of murdering rock guitarist Dave Navarro's mother and her friend nearly 30 years ago -- a ruling that could affect the cases of Scott Peterson and other death row inmates.

The unanimous court said the trial judge presiding over the trial of John Riccardi improperly dismissed a prospective juror because of her conflicting written responses in a questionnaire asking her views of the death penalty.

The court said the judge was required to delve deeper into the juror's death penalty views and determine if she could impose the death sentence is she believed prosecutors proved their case.

Peterson and a few other California death row inmates are appealing on similar grounds.

Peterson was convicted of killing his wife Laci, who was 8 months pregnant with their son, and dumping her body in San Francisco Bay on Christmas Eve 2002. Investigators believe Peterson either strangled or suffocated his wife.

Peterson has always maintained his innocence and claims in his appeal filed earlier this month that the trial judge presiding over his 2004 trial wrongly dismissed 13 jurors who said they opposed the death penalty but could follow the law and impose it if warranted.

In 1984, a narrowly divided U.S. Supreme Court ruled that reversal of the death penalty is automatic when potential jurors are dismissed because of their written answers to questions about their views on capital punishment.

Peterson's attorney Cliff Gardner argued in his appeal that the mistake occurred in the Peterson trial and may be the basis of appeals of a few other death row inmates.

The last California execution occurred in 2006. Lawsuits in federal and state courts have forced a temporary halt to executions.

In its ruling Monday, the state high court upheld Riccardi's murder conviction. Once a noted body builder, he was convicted of killing former girlfriend Connie Navarro in a jealous rage. Her friend Sue Jory also was killed. Navarro's son played guitar for the band "Jane's Addiction."

It's now up the California attorney general to determine if another penalty phase will be held or if Riccardi is taken off death row and sentenced to life in prison.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said that ruling "compels the reversal of the penalty phase without any inquiry as to whether the error actually" led to an unfair trial. The chief justice wrote separately to urge the U.S. Supreme Court to reconsider the automatic reversal in such cases.

The juror in question, identified only by the initials "N.K." in the ruling, wrote on the questionnaire that she supported California's reinstatement of the death penalty and stated that it is not used enough.

But later in the questionnaire, the juror gave answers that suggest she opposes capital punishment.

"I'm afraid I could not feel right in imposing the death penalty on someone even though I feel it is nessasary (sic) under some circumstances," N.K. wrote.

Cantil-Sakauye wrote that the trial court judge should have questioned her more instead of dismissing her as he did.

The chief justice said the juror's conflicting answers meant either she "feared that actually being on a death jury would be difficult or uncomfortable, or she was advising the court that she could not impose a decision of death, even if the evidence warranted its application. From the questionnaire alone, we cannot possibly determine which scenario prompted her answers."

Riccardi was arrested in Houston eight years after the killings when "America's Most Wanted" aired a segment on the 1983 crime. A tipster recognized him and alerted authorities.

http://www.aikenstandard.com/story/071712-ap-Death-penalty-tossed-in-killing-of-rocker-mom--4133575

I apologize for my not perfect English. Hopefully you understand what I mean. If not - ask me. I will try to explain.

Hutchsmash


"The unanimous court said the trial judge presiding over the trial of John Riccardi improperly dismissed a prospective juror because of her conflicting written responses in a questionnaire asking her views of the death penalty."

Well the court is unanimously stupid.  If she couldn't write down her views in a consistant manner, how the hell is she going to be able to answer direct questions consistantly?  Way to go liberal douchbags, scum wins again.

Hutch
"How come life in prison doesn't mean life? Until it does, we're not ready to do away with the death penalty. Stop thinking in terms of "punishment" for a minute and think in terms of safeguarding innocent people from incorrigible murderers."

JESSE VENTURA, I Ain't Got Time to Bleed

Jase

I still struggle to see how people go out of their way to find stupid loop holes to get these guys off!!!
I have the best job in the world. I work all day as a dog trainer, helping people understand that their dog responds to positive reward based training, and that we can find a way to make your relationship with you dog fun and enjoyable for the BOTH of you!!! I train people to train dogs to love life!!!!

JTiscool


I still struggle to see how people go out of their way to find stupid loop holes to get these guys off!!!


It's all about the money and ego.
My reason for supporting the death penalty? A murderer has less of a right to live than his victim and already presents a danger while incarcerated for life. They have nothing to lose when the most they can get is Life in prison without parole.

Jase



It's all about the money and ego.



Well its the ego thing I don't get most of all. Mine is pretty well advanced but I don't understand how can you hold your head up and brag that you saved the life of a guy who killed more than one person and is truly just wasting oxygen... How can your friends and family applaud you for that? Or do you just not hear what they say about you behind your back???


With regard the money... How much money does it take to help them sleep at night knowing they have denied justice to the very people who deserve it the most???????
I have the best job in the world. I work all day as a dog trainer, helping people understand that their dog responds to positive reward based training, and that we can find a way to make your relationship with you dog fun and enjoyable for the BOTH of you!!! I train people to train dogs to love life!!!!

JTiscool




It's all about the money and ego.



Well its the ego thing I don't get most of all. Mine is pretty well advanced but I don't understand how can you hold your head up and brag that you saved the life of a guy who killed more than one person and is truly just wasting oxygen... How can your friends and family applaud you for that? Or do you just not hear what they say about you behind your back???


With regard the money... How much money does it take to help them sleep at night knowing they have denied justice to the very people who deserve it the most???????


Defense attorneys are paid enough to make themselves think that their clients do not deserve the death penalty.
My reason for supporting the death penalty? A murderer has less of a right to live than his victim and already presents a danger while incarcerated for life. They have nothing to lose when the most they can get is Life in prison without parole.

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