what tha what? Dismissal of capital murder charges for VINDICTIVE PROSECUTION

28 Oct

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Well I’ll be damned, first a reversal for IAC in failing to file a motion to dismiss for pre-charging delay (last week) and now a dismissal of several capital murder charges for vindictive prosecution.  Is good law being revived or is it just me?! (But see yesterday’s terrible opinion on a suppression issue in Lopez [http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C078537.PDF].)

D appealed his death sentence/conviction and conviction was reversed by Cal Supreme Court.  On remand the prosecutor added several counts of capital murder that were previously uncharged.  D argued this was vindictive/punishing him for exercising his right to appeal.  On his side was that the DA’s office was either really stupid or actually ethical and essentially admitted at an evidentiary hearing that they added charges because his conviction was reversed.  Also, there was not a lot of new evidence that would explain why those murders were not originally charged.  The AG argued that really there was no issue with adding new charges for no other reason than that D won his appeal because he was already eligible for the death penalty for the existing charges such that a few more murders didn’t actually punish him.  You can only kill him once, they said.  Good one.  COA rejected this maybe because it’s fucking absurd?!  This opinion is long but important because it really sets forth a number of definitive standards for evaluating vindictive prosecution.  Also, what a win!

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