Monday, August 07, 2006

People v. Ramirez (Cal. Supreme Ct. - Aug. 7, 2006)

It will suprise no one that the California Supreme Court unanimously upheld the death penalty sentence of Richard Ramirez, a/k/a the Night Stalker. There's no way in the universe the California Supreme Court was going to reverse the death sentence in such a high-profile case. There ain't gonna be a Rose Bird II.

(Not that the Court wasn't correct on the merits, mind you. Just that the merits didn't especially matter.)

Two more things that also weren't at all surprising. (1) The opinion is over 100 pages. That's what you get in these types of cases. Long, long, long. Related to: (2) The automatic appeal alone took over 16 years since the death sentence was imposed -- a full 22-plus years after the first murder. And petitions for certiorari, as well as state and federal habeas proceedings, have not yet even begun.

That's "justice" in death penalty cases. No one -- on either side of the issue -- can be happy with the present state of affairs.