Thursday, June 18, 2015

People v. Saez (Cal. Ct. App. - June 18, 2015)

"On May 6, 2007, Saez assaulted a female victim with a garrote—a wire weapon used for strangulation—on a San Francisco street in broad daylight. A witness called the police after seeing Saez “stomping” on the victim as she lay on the sidewalk. Officer James Barber located Saez near the scene and detained him. Saez volunteered that “[t]he bitch was already dead” and was bleeding from her mouth when he came across her. 

Officer Barber found a homemade garrote in Saez’s jacket pocket. Saez’s jacket was bloodstained, and the garrote had hair and skin attached to it. Later DNA testing established that both the victim’s and Saez’s blood was on the jacket, and the victim’s blood was on the garrote. 

Officer Lynn Reilly found the victim where she had been assaulted. Officer Reilly described the victim as having “blood all over her face,” and she noticed blood on a garage door near the victim’s head. The officer testified that the victim was unconscious and there was a “gurgling, labored breathing sound coming from her mouth, and there was blood that appeared to be coming out of her left ear.” Sergeant Carolyn Lucas, who was also at the scene, testified that the victim was “either unconscious or barely conscious.” 

The victim was taken to the hospital. The attending trauma surgeon, Jan Horn, M.D., testified that when the victim was admitted she had lacerations on her neck, tongue, and fingers, and blood around her nostrils and mouth. She also had fractured bones near her eye socket and cheek, which were consistent with having had her face 'stomped' on."

I gotta admit that this factual recitation doesn't make me feel much sympathy towards Mr. Saez.  Indeed, when I read that he received a sentence of 39 years to life in prison, that sounded pretty right to me.  And that was even before I read about his prior convictions.

Nor was I especially impressed with Mr. Saez's legal argument that the prosecution didn't sufficiently prove that the prior convictions were his.  The evidence showed that a guy who committed these prior offenses was named Jose Antonio Saez, had a birthdate of February 22, 1960, and at that time lived at 425 E. Garfield in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  When the present defendant was booked, he had multiple identification cards that listed his name as Jose A. Saez, with a birthdate of February 22, 1960, and listed an address at 500 E. Garfield in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

That's good enough for me.  Beyond a reasonable doubt, even.  Regardless of the fact that there may well be lots of people named "Jose A. Saez" in the universe.

It was good enough for the Court of Appeal as well.

Mr. Saez gets a marginal amount of relief in the California Court of Appeal.  But my guess is that he'll nonetheless spend the remainder of his life in prison.

His offense was that heinous.