Monday, July 20, 2009

People v. Friend (Cal. Supreme Ct. - July 20, 2009)

Sometimes it's totally easy to see why a defendant has been sentenced to death, and it's obvious how the murder there is different from other crimes in which the defendant is sentenced to life.

Then there's this one.

Maybe I'm jaded after reading all the death penalty cases over the past couple decades. But I don't entirely see how this one is different than your usual run-of-the-mill case of murder during a robbery.

Of course, one might take the position that everyone who commits such a crime should be sentenced to death. But, for better or worse, that's not our system.

None of this is relevant to the decision of the California Supreme Court, which unanimously affirms the conviction and sentence. Just thought I'd share my reaction.

P.S. - Some nice conduct by the prosecutor during closing argument here. My favorite: Noting that the defendant, who was homeless, slept beneath the sidewalk, "living like a mole or the rat that he is." My reaction to that was slightly different than the Court's, which blithely concluded that it was "founded on evidence in the record and fell within the permissible bounds of argument."