Defendant was convicted for killing
A jury convicted defendant of two murders, in violation of Cal. Penal Code § 187, found true the special circumstance allegations under Cal. Penal Code §§ 190.2(a)(3) and (10), and convicted defendant of attempted murder under Cal. Penal Code § 664(a). The jury returned a verdict of death, but the Superior Court of Los Angeles County (California) modified the sentence to be life sentences plus enhancements. Defendant appealed.
Defendant was convicted for killing a fellow gang member who knew too much about defendant’s first murder. On appeal, defendant claimed that the trial court erred by ruling that the prosecution could question a defense witness about a statement made by defendant. ADA attorney The court rejected the argument. The defense witness would have testified that someone else confessed to the second murder. Because the trial court decided that the prosecution could question the witness regarding the same murder about defendant’s statement that he was going to take care of people who were talking to the police about defendant, defendant did not call the witness. The court found no error in the ruling, because the statement sought to be elicited by the prosecution was admissible as an admission against penal interest. However, the court held that the trial court improperly short-circuited the Wheeler requirements. After finding that defendant had made a prima facie showing of racial bias in the prosecution’s use of peremptory challenges, the trial court failed to make the prosecution give neutral explanations for the middle two of several potentially offending uses of peremptory challenges.
The court reversed the judgment and remanded the matter for the trial court to conduct a new hearing on the Wheeler issues, initially to determine whether it and the attorneys could adequately address the issues. If they could, the judgment shall be reinstated and the abstract of judgment should have been corrected to reflect a correction to the sentence regarding conduct credit and enhancement. If they could not, the court shall order a retrial.
The disciplinary board of respondent, State Bar of California, recommended that petitioner attorney be disbarred from the practice of law, finding that petitioner had violated his oath and duties as an attorney and counselor of law and had committed acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, and corruption when petitioner participated in making bribes and attempted to cover up his actions.
The local committee of respondent state bar conducted hearings on the charges that petitioner attorney had violated his oath and duties as an attorney and counselor at law and had committed acts involving moral turpitude, dishonesty, and corruption when he participated in making bribes in connection with obtaining a zoning change and attempted to cover up his actions. The committee recommended that petitioner be publicly reproved, but the disciplinary board of respondent recommended that petitioner be disbarred. The court found that in view of the mitigating factors, particularly petitioner’s recognition of his wrongdoing and the persuasive recommendations of those who had associated with him, disbarment was not necessary in order to afford adequate protection to the public. The court suspended petitioner from the practice of law for three years, stayed the execution of the order, and placed petitioner on probation for three years with an actual suspension of one year.
The court had not adopted the disciplinary board of respondent state bar’s recommendation that petitioner attorney be disbarred from the practice of law for making bribes and attempting to cover up his actions. The court suspended petitioner from the practice of law for three years, stayed the execution of the order, and placed him on probation for the three years with an actual suspension of one year.