Thursday, August 02, 2012

People v. Houston (Cal. Supreme Ct. - Aug. 2, 2012)

Oh, yeah.  Here's another thing that's going to get you sentenced to death.  Even if you've got no criminal history and are otherwise seemingly a regular kid:

Going into your former high school with a shotgun and randomly killing numerous children.

That's what Eric Houston did in 1992.  (You can read more about this Columbine-like shooting in the opinion.  It's pretty detailed and graphic about what transpired.  Even better, in my uninformed view, than the movie, which starred Rick Schroeder, Freddy Prinze Jr. and Henry Winkler.)

He's sentenced -- not surprisingly -- to death.

And, again, another unanimous opinion -- again by Justice Liu -- affirming.

P.S. - I agree with Justice Liu that the trial court's attempt to "create levity" in this capital case was not exactly well-conceived.  But I'd have taken a little bit more seriously than Justice Liu does the fact that the trial court, in a capital case about sanity (at the guilt phase) and defendant's psychological problems (at the penalty phase) told the jury that "really, all the psychology stuff is mumbo jumbo stuff."  I agree that, in the context of this case, this isn't enough to reverse the judgment.  But, unlike Justice Liu, I'd have definitely mentioned that making comments like this one is (1) erroneous, and (2) a horribly stupid idea.  Albeit not one that requires reversal.