Thursday, May 24, 2007

People v. Lancaster (Cal. Supreme Ct. - May 24, 2007)

Read the first eight pages of this opinion. Then see if you agree with me as regards the following maxim:

When you're clearly guilty of murder, put on no evidence at the guilt phase, and have prior convictions for both the forcible rape of a 9-year old girl as well as a home invasion robbery, don't repeatedly make (and get caught with) shanks and jail-made handcuff keys in your cell while you're awaiting trial. Because the jury at the penalty phase will hear about that stuff. And sentence you to death. And the California Supreme Court will unanimously affirm.

Oh, also. Don't testify at the penalty phase if this is what you're going to say: "Defendant testified, accusing the witnesses against him of lying. He did not trust attorneys or psychiatrists. He said he would not ask the jury to spare his life because only God can give life. Defendant disparaged Dr. Romanoff’s testimony, telling the jury, 'this antisocial syndrome bull stuff, don’t fall for that.'"

That ain't gonna help either.