Thursday, May 28, 2015

People v. Trujeque (Cal. Supreme Ct. - May 28, 2015)

It's not every day that you read a California Supreme Court decision that unanimously reverses a death sentence.  But today's such a day.

It's an unusual result, but it's also an unusual case.  For example, it's incredibly rare that the guy sentenced to death testified on his own behalf at trial.  But this guy did.  And didn't just testify.  He admitted the murders.  Didn't even offer a defense for doing what he did.  Here, for example, is what the defendant told the district attorney:  "[B]oth of those cowards deserved what they got: death and an early expiration in life, to say the least,” and that if he “had the opportunity to do it over I would cut off their heads and send 'em both to their family!"

Not something you typically see in a death penalty trial, eh?

This is essentially a "volunteer" case.  The guy had gotten away with the murders.  He was in prison and didn't like it there, so made a cold call to a detective and told him about the crimes and asked to be sentenced to death.  The jury ultimately obliged.

Which makes today's decision especially unusual.  Usually the California Supreme Court affirms the death sentence of a guy who doesn't want it.  Today it reverses the death sentence of a guy who seems like he wants it.

What a crazy world.