Thursday, July 07, 2005

People v. Ward (Cal. Supreme Ct. - June 30, 2005)

I should make a macro: "The California Supreme Court unanimously affirmed the death sentence of the defendant in this case." It would get routine use. Anyway, here's another one.

One might nonetheless want to read the case if only because it might make one legitimately wary the next time one was deciding whether to seek out a $20 piece of crack. Here's the Court's brief description of the factual circumstances surrounding the first murder for which defendant was convicted. It chillingly demonstrates the danger associated with even a routine drug transactions:

"With Springer in the passenger seat giving directions, Stumpf [the victim] drove to Norton Avenue, where they saw defendant -- with whom Springer had had previous drug dealings -- standing on the sidewalk with another person. They pulled up to defendant, and defendant, standing on the passenger side, asked what they wanted. Springer indicated they needed a $20 piece of cocaine; and defendant handed a rock to Stumpf, who was holding money in his hand. According to Springer, Stumpf passed it back to defendant because the rock was too small. Perceiving Stumpf had broken a piece of the rock, defendant said something like, 'You broke my shit.' He then pulled a gun, leaned in the passenger side, and fired several times from close range at Stumpf's chest."

What a random, senseless death.

P.S. - Here's the sentence that Ward receives (and which the Court affirms) for the first degree murder of Adkins: "Death, plus two consecutive years for the firearm enhancement." Death plus two years. You gotta love California.