Thursday, July 24, 2014

People v. Boyce (Cal. Supreme Ct. - July 24, 2014)

I don't think I need to tell you what sentence the jury returned for this offense:

"Shayne York and his fiancée, Jennifer Parish, were both Los Angeles County deputy sheriffs. On August 14, 1997, they were planning a trip to Las Vegas for Jennifer's birthday. Around 7:30 p.m., they went to the DeCut salon in Buena Park where Jennifer's sister, Amy, had agreed to style their hair. The three were alone in the salon. All neighboring businesses were closed.

Suddenly, Willis entered the shop wielding a semiautomatic handgun. Defendant followed closely behind, also carrying a handgun. When Willis yelled, 'Get the fuck on the ground, whiteys,' the three victims complied. . . . Defendant demanded York's wallet, kicking him when he did not respond quickly enough. Meanwhile, Willis yanked Jennifer off the ground, searched her pockets, and took her watch and engagement ring.

While searching York, defendant discovered his sheriff's badge and said, 'Well, well, well. Look what we have here, a mother fucking pig.' Defendant demanded to know where York worked. York replied, 'Wayside' and 'East Facility.' Defendant, who previously had been incarcerated there, asked York if he 'liked to treat nigger Crips like shit in jail?' York responded, 'No, sir.' Defendant retorted, 'No, I know you like to treat us nigger Crips like shit in jail.' York again responded, 'No, sir.' Defendant demanded and received the personal identification number (PIN) for York's automated teller machine (ATM) card.

One of the robbers said, 'Fuck the whitey,' and a shot was fired. York collapsed, bleeding profusely. Someone then declared that he had always wanted to kill a cop and that he hoped this one died. Neither Jennifer nor Amy saw the gun being fired, but both women believed that defendant had shot York based on the relative positions of the robbers."

You guessed it.  Defendant is sentenced to death.  The California Supreme Court unanimously affirms.

You may ask:  Wasn't there any mitigating evidence?  Of course there was.  Take, for example, this touching display, which transpired immediately after the robbers shot York:

"As York lay dying, Willis rummaged through Jennifer's purse looking for her ATM card. Discovering her badge, he announced, 'We've got another mother fucking pig in here.' He asked which of the two women was the 'other fucking white pig,' and Jennifer raised her hand. Willis said, 'Don‟t worry, bitch. We're not going to shoot you. You're a fucking woman.'"

Proof, I guess, that chivalry's not dead.  Even amongst the most evil and heartless of men.

I'll add, however, that there are other factors that might stop Boyce's execution.  His IQ may well be below 70.  We'll find out more on habeas.  He had a fever and seizure when he was two years old, and as a result, did not speak again until he was five.  "Defendant's first grade teacher in North Carolina described him as
the most learning disabled student she had encountered in 30 years of teaching."

None of which, I'll add, excuses his conduct.  But it nonetheless is relevant to the next phase of this already-long (sixteen years and counting) process.