Monday, February 04, 2008

People v. Howard (Cal. Supreme Ct. - Feb. 4, 2008)

I think that you can figure out how this case comes out based solely upon two facts:

(1) the fact that it's in front of the California Supreme Court; and

(2) the fact that the first sentence of the opinion begins: "Defendant Alphonso Howard was sentenced to death after a jury convicted him of first degree murder, rape, and a forcible lewd act upon a child under the age of 14."

Yes. Affirmed.

P.S. - There's an interesting debate between the majority and Justice Kennard (joined by Justice Moreno) about how you address Batson/Wheeler claims (impermissible peremptory challenges)when the defendant hasn't made a prima facie showing but the prosecution nonetheless offers a purported justification for the challenges. Justice Kennard's opinion on this point is pretty short (five double-spaced pages) and worth a quick read.