Friday, December 05, 2008

People v. Zavala (Cal. Ct. App. - Nov. 24, 2008)

Sometimes it takes a subtle legal mind to evaluate the complex doctrinal and policy implications of a particular legal principle on appeal in order to assess whether or not the Court of Appeal will reverse.

Sometimes, not so much.

Here's the opening paragraph of the opinion. Knowing nothing at all about the appeal other than this first paragraph, and (even then) knowing absolutely nothing at all about the relevant legal principles at issue, see if you nonetheless can accurately fill in the blank:

"Eric Jones was punched, knocked out, and tied by his hands and feet, and he was beaten beyond recognition, stripped of his clothing, and shocked with electricity, and he was sodomized with a tool handle, put into the trunk of a car, and driven to a remote area, and he was dragged into a field and shot 10 times at close range, and he bled to death. Gerardo Zavala admitted to a detective his involvement in some, but not all, of the acts of abuse. . . . [and] a [] jury found him guilty of second degree murder, torture, and kidnapping and found two firearm allegations true. The trial court sentenced him to 18 years to life. We will ______ the judgment."

Tough one, eh?