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The People v. Ronnie Dale Dement

November 28, 2011

THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
RONNIE DALE DEMENT, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



Sacramento County Super. Ct. No. 4679510 Court: Superior County: Fresno Judge: Stephen R. Henry

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Chin, J.

Defendant Ronnie Dale Dement was convicted of oral copulation in a local detention facility and of the first degree murder of fellow inmate Greg Michael Andrews. (Pen. Code,*fn1 §§ 187, subd. (a), 189, 288a, subd. (e).) The jury found true the special circumstance allegations of murder while engaged in the attempted commission of oral copulation and, in a separate proceeding, of a prior conviction of murder. (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(2), (17).) It returned a death verdict and the trial court entered a judgment of death. This appeal is automatic. (Cal. Const., art. VI, § 11, subd. (a); § 1239, subd. (b).) For the reasons that follow, we affirm the judgment.

I. Factual Background

A. Guilt Phase 1. Prosecution evidence

On April 9, 1992,*fn2 Greg Andrews was found dead in the jail cell he shared with three other individuals, including defendant. Defendant was implicated in Andrews's murder by the testimony of the other cellmates, defendant's statements and actions before and after Andrews was attacked, and the testimony or statements of inmates who overheard parts of the attack.

a. Andrews's arrival at the jail

On April 8, defendant, whose nickname was "Pico," shared cell No. 8 in the Fresno County jail with John Benjamin and Jimmie Lee Bond. That evening, he was in the jail dayroom standing next to inmate Anthony Williams. About 30 minutes before the inmates returned to their cells for the night, a group of new inmates, including Greg Andrews, appeared. Referring to Andrews, defendant told Williams, "I hope they don't move him in my cell." He then said something to the effect of, "They move him in my cell, I'm going to do him" or "do his ass," which Williams interpreted to mean defendant was going to kill Andrews.

Andrews was assigned to a three-bunk cell occupied by defendant, Bond, and Benjamin. Defendant seemed upset about a fourth person being assigned to the cell. Defendant, Benjamin, and Bond inquired whether a mistake had been made placing Andrews in their cell because a cell in the tier immediately below them had only two occupants. They were informed Andrews would remain in their cell.

Inmate Bradley Nelson, a friend of Andrews's, socialized with Andrews in the dayroom after Andrews had been assigned a cell. Andrews left to go to sleep. As Andrews started to go upstairs, Nelson saw defendant look at Bond, smile, and start hitting his fist into his hand. Nelson told Bond "they better leave [Andrews] alone because he was a friend of mine." Inmate Eric Johnson heard defendant say he "was going to take care of the home boy that had just been put into his tank."

b. The attack on Andrews*fn3

After the cells were locked for the night, Andrews, who was wearing only boxer shorts, put his mattress on the floor, and went to sleep. Defendant, Bond, and Benjamin drank an alcoholic beverage called "pruno." Sometime later, defendant told Benjamin and Bond he wanted to question Andrews about a woman they both knew, and that defendant "would know about him if he gave the wrong answers." Defendant, who was wearing boxer shorts and sandals, began slapping Andrews in the face to wake him up. Defendant then asked Andrews about defendant's wife, "if he knew her, how good did he know her, things like that." Andrews apparently acknowledged that he knew or had seen defendant's wife. Defendant became angry, and began punching Andrews in the face, calling him a "piece of shit," and stomping on his head. Benjamin and Bond told defendant to leave Andrews alone. Defendant started to remove Andrews's boxer shorts, and when Andrews attempted to hold on to the shorts, defendant punched him, slapped him, and told him to put his hands down. Defendant ripped off the shorts.

Defendant called Andrews a "punk," and said, "Watch him kiss my dick." Defendant pulled his penis through the fly of his boxer shorts and ordered Andrews to kiss it. Andrews refused. Defendant told Andrews, "If you just kiss it, I'll leave you alone." Andrews kissed the head of defendant's penis. Defendant said, "I ought to fuck him." Defendant asked Bond and Benjamin if they wanted to fuck Andrews "or get their dicks sucked"; they declined. Defendant backed away from Andrews, and said, "I told you he was a punk, a piece of shit," and, "I ought to kill you."

Defendant started punching and kicking Andrews. Bond unsuccessfully tried to pull defendant away from Andrews. Defendant began slamming Andrews against the cell lockers, and Bond again unsuccessfully tried to stop him. Defendant continued hitting Andrews, "slinging him into the locker, throwing him on the ground, [and] stomping on him." Andrews yelled, "Leave me alone. Why are you doing this to me?"

Defendant then grabbed a towel and wrapped it around Andrews's throat, pulling on both ends of the towel. Defendant said he was going to kill Andrews, and that it was people like Andrews who caused the death of his mother. Andrews passed out, but was still breathing. Bond pulled defendant off Andrews, and defendant told Bond "to stay out of it and mind [his] own business, that the same thing could happen to [him]." Benjamin pushed a call button to alert an officer to contact the cell. An officer's voice came over the speaker in the cell, defendant told Andrews to be quiet, and yelled out, " 'What time is it?" The officer informed defendant of the time, the two may have exchanged another word or two, and the conversation ceased.

Defendant then choked Andrews with the towel, which was still wrapped around his neck, a second time. Bond and Benjamin unsuccessfully attempted to intervene. Andrews passed out again. Defendant let go of Andrews, saying, "I killed him." Bond became "real emotional" and told defendant, "You killed him. You killed him," but Benjamin could see Andrews was breathing. Benjamin said, "No, he's alive, he's not dead. You guys didn't kill him. It's all right." Defendant then jumped back onto Andrews and choked him a third time. Finally, defendant said, "Fuck it, I'm through with it," and released the towel. Benjamin now thought Andrews, whose face color began to darken, was dead.

Defendant instructed Bond and Benjamin to clean up the cell. Andrews was placed on a mattress, covered with a blanket, and moved underneath the bottom bunk. The cellmates wiped up blood, and flushed boxer shorts and towels down the toilet. Defendant also told them that "when the police ask about it, just to say that him and Mr. Andrews got in a fight and that we went to bed and we didn't know what happened." About 40 minutes to an hour after the third choking, the cell doors were opened for breakfast. Defendant, Bond, and Benjamin exited the cell.

Defendant later told Bond and Benjamin "not to say anything . . . or something would happen to us." Bond and Benjamin subsequently returned to the cell, shut the door, pushed the call button, and notified the officer that there was a body in the cell. A responding jail nurse testified that when she examined Andrews there was a towel wrapped around his neck and he had no heartbeat or pulse.

During the night of April 8 to 9, inmate Albert Martinez heard "somebody calling for help, screaming 'Just leave me alone,' and . . . what sounded like a body being thrown against a wall and the toilet." Martinez also heard a voice call out something to the effect that "he wanted to fuck him and stuff." Nelson heard fighting, and heard Andrews plead, "Somebody, please get me out of this cell," and later say, "You might as well go ahead and kill me."

c. Evidence after the attack on Andrews

Nelson went to Andrews's cell to wake him for breakfast. He discovered Andrews was dead, and returned to his cell, informing his cellmates of what he had observed. Defendant arrived at Nelson's cell. Defendant was aware Nelson had been in cell No. 8, "was mad," and "told me to stay the fuck out of his cell." Defendant then asked Nelson if he would help him drag the body out of the cell onto the tier. Nelson declined. Defendant knew Nelson and Andrews had been friends, and said that if Nelson said anything, he would be dead. Defendant placed his left hand on Nelson's chest and with his right hand drew his finger across his throat.

Williams testified that as soon as the cell doors were opened for breakfast, he observed defendant calmly "going from cell to cell letting everybody know if they got any knives or weapons, to get rid of them because he had killed a guy upstairs."

Inmate Martinez, who was an acquaintance of defendant's, heard defendant bragging about having "killed the punk." Defendant visited Martinez's cell and asked Martinez to help him drag a body downstairs. Martinez declined. Martinez later heard defendant ask other inmates to remove the body from his cell, and heard defendant describe the attack on Andrews. Defendant said he beat Andrews, and Martinez was "pretty sure [defendant] mentioned that he was choking him, strangling him." Martinez heard defendant say that "he was trying to go up in the guy," which Martinez said meant, "trying to fuck him." Martinez was uncertain whether defendant said "he had fucked the guy" or that "he had killed him because he didn't want to let him fuck him." According to Martinez, defendant told him and other inmates that if he "got rolled up, the two people that knew what had happened were his two cellies and that they needed to do something to him."

On the morning Andrews's body was found, Criminalist Michael Giberson physically examined defendant. There was a one-and-one-half inch diameter red and swollen area on defendant's right middle knuckle and an abrasion and cut on the web portion near his right thumb. The back of the web on his left hand also bore a small abrasion. The outside edge of his right big toe was bruised and there was a bruise on his left shin about six inches below the knee.

Fresno County Sheriff's Department Detective Bradley Christian accompanied defendant to the hospital so that he could receive medical treatment for his injured hand. During informal conversation, Christian mentioned defendant's wife and a friend of hers named Tom Rutledge. Defendant said he knew Rutledge, that he and Rutledge were enemies, and that Rutledge had disrespected him. Defendant subsequently asked Christian "what the name of the subject was that had gone to sleep." Christian said, "Greg Andrews." Defendant nodded his head and said, "He was a friend of Tommy's."

In March and April 1993, defendant sent inmate Trinidad Ybarra "kites," or jailhouse letters, portions of which were read to the jury. (See post, pt. II.B.3.) In the kites, defendant appeared to admit responsibility for Andrews's murder.

An autopsy revealed blunt trauma injury to Andrews's head and body. Four of his ribs had been fractured by blunt trauma; these injuries were more consistent with a kick than a blow from a fist. His frenulum, or the string attaching the upper lip to the jaw area, was torn, and his hands bore defensive wounds. There was a horizontal abrasion on the front and sides of his neck. The blunt trauma injury contributed significantly to Andrews's death, but the cause of death was ligature strangulation.

2. Defense evidence

Donald Moore, Anthony Williams's parole agent, testified that he had advised Williams that if a subpoena were issued for defendant's Fresno trial, it would be in Williams's best interest to satisfy his obligations under the subpoena before moving to Southern California. Once Moore learned Williams was going to have to testify, Moore told Williams that "as soon as he got finished testifying . . . , he could come back to my office and we'd go ahead and give him the paperwork and he could head on down to Palmdale." Moore wrote a note in Williams's file that read: " 'Advised would not release suspect to Palmdale area if he did not cooperate with their investigation.' " The note, however, referred to a conversation Moore had with the district attorney's investigator. Moore did not tell Williams he could not go to the Palmdale area unless he cooperated.

Dr. Eric Hickey, a criminologist at the California State University, Fresno, testified as an expert concerning prison argot or slang. According to Dr. Hickey, prison slang included a great deal of machismo and bravado, and it was very common for inmates to exaggerate or falsify their past exploits in order to attain status. "No one wants to appear to be weak in an institution because the weaker ones are the ones who are preyed upon."

Dr. Hickey testified that the term "tag" had a variety of meanings. These included to kill, physically assault, or hurt an individual in some way. If used in reference to a family member, it could mean to silence that individual so he would not speak about other offenses. If used in reference to a stranger, it could mean to let that individual know the speaker is in charge, or is the boss, perhaps by a sexual assault. The term "I'm going to do him" could have a sexual connotation. The term "punk" usually meant "somebody who is used sexually, he's owned by another inmate, . . . sometimes shared or sold to other inmates."

Dr. Hickey also testified that although the threat of sexual attack is used to intimidate another inmate, there may be no intent to actually commit such an assault. Sexual assaults were sometimes used to punish a fellow inmate.

Dr. Hickey agreed with defense counsel that depending on the relationship between two inmates, inmates can use kites to "try to puff themselves up and . . . make themselves more . . . fearsome than they already are." If the writer is friends with the recipient of the kite, "he may say very confidential things to him." If the writer is just an acquaintance, "he may say things which are somewhat embellished."

Fresno County Sheriff's Department Detective Linda Lee testified that on April 9, 1992, the day Andrews's death was reported, she interviewed Anthony Williams. Williams indicated he did not want to say anything unless Lee could help him with his case. Lee did not make a deal with him. After further conversation, Williams said he was not going help Lee unless she helped him, and that he knew who had committed the crime but would not tell her. Lee explained she was not in a position to help Williams.

In June and July 1994, Irvin Basquez was at times in a holding cell in the court building in which defendant's trial was being held. On one such occasion in the week or two before Basquez's testimony, a man who had short hair and a mustache coming down the sides of his mouth was being held in the cell next to Basquez's. The man was yelling loudly at police officers and identified himself as "Bond." Some female inmates were brought through and one of the women asked Bond, "What are you in here for?" Bond replied, "Killing my cellie." The woman responded, "Scared of you," and left. Basquez was aware Bond was a witness in a related case in federal court. He subsequently conveyed the conversation to defendant, with whom he was acquainted.

B. Prior-Murder Special-circumstance Allegation Phase

The parties stipulated that on or about September 26, 1991, defendant was convicted of the second degree murder of David Raymond Dement. The jury found true the prior-murder special-circumstance allegation. (§ 190.2, subd. (a)(2).)

C. Penalty Phase 1. Prosecution evidence

The parties stipulated to and the prosecution introduced evidence regarding the details of defendant's murder of his brother, 35-year-old David Dement. On June 2, 1991, David and his wife were socializing at the Fresno home of Joel Parker and his girlfriend, Robin Rynes. Late that afternoon, defendant arrived and asked to speak with David. Parker asked defendant to leave. Parker learned the dispute involved money defendant alleged David had taken from him, and David contended he had repaid. Over the next five and a half to six hours, defendant returned to the Parker residence several times. On one of these occasions, he said, "I'm going to kill my brother." On the last occasion, David left the house and defendant shot him. David died early the next morning as a result of a single gunshot wound.

The parties also stipulated that defendant suffered a conviction for the 1991 willful and unlawful infliction of corporeal injury on a spouse. (§ 273.5.) Defendant committed the assault on Lisa Dement several hours before he shot his brother David.

The prosecution introduced evidence that in 1983 defendant suffered three robbery convictions, one of which had a firearm use enhancement. (§§ 211, 12022.5.) In 1986, he suffered a conviction for possession of a concealed weapon. (Former § 12020, Stats.1986, ch. 1421, § 1.)

The prosecution also introduced evidence of misconduct in jail by defendant. On November 17, 1992, and February 1, 1993, while defendant was incarcerated in the Fresno County jail, he was found to be in possession of a "shank." On September 3, 1993, after Fresno County Sheriff's Department Correctional Officer Joseph Burgen removed defendant's leg shackles and handcuffs for his recreation time, defendant punched Burgen in the face twice, and then grabbed him by the throat and pushed him backward. Another officer intervened, and after a struggle defendant was ultimately subdued.

2. Defense evidence

Numerous witnesses testified regarding defendant's childhood, his marriage to Lisa Dement, and his character. Defendant also presented expert testimony.

a. Background and character evidence

Defendant was born on December 3, 1963. His sister Theresa Thacker, who was nearly five years older, testified defendant was the youngest of five children and had two older brothers, David and Larry, and two older sisters, Lorraine and Theresa. Theresa's father was Keith Thacker, and Lorraine, David, and Larry's father was Raymond Dement; neither man ever resided with the family. Defendant introduced into evidence his birth certificate, which stated Floyd Hutchins was defendant's father. Theresa testified that when defendant was five or six years old, the family home was frequented by many individuals who used drugs and alcohol, and who sometimes parked motorcycles in the living room.

George Disbrow testified that he met defendant's mother Laverne in 1971 and married her in 1972, when defendant was nine years old. He described defendant as a very congenial and attentive child who would immediately do what was asked of him. Defendant called Disbrow "Dad."

Disbrow smoked marijuana with Laverne and drank alcohol heavily. Between 1971 and 1974, defendant lived in about 10 different residences. At one point, Laverne was sent to jail for six months for selling barbiturates, and Disbrow cared for defendant and his older sister Theresa. Theresa testified that Disbrow would beat her about the head in defendant's presence. She sought assistance from other adults and was eventually placed in foster care. Theresa unsuccessfully tried to have defendant removed also.

At the end of 1974 or the beginning of 1975, when Laverne was released from jail, defendant, who was about 11, was living with Disbrow in Southern California. At Laverne's request, defendant returned to Fresno, and that was the last time Disbrow saw defendant.

At the time of her testimony, Theresa was an eligibility worker for the department of social services. Theresa considered herself a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. All of her siblings had experienced problems with drug and alcohol abuse, and all of her brothers had trouble with the law. Theresa described defendant as someone who cared about his family and was intelligent.

Clyde Willis, the former principal of Nelson Elementary School, knew defendant when he was in the fourth through sixth grades. Defendant was not regarded as a troublemaker. Willis recalled that in the sixth grade, defendant attended a trip to the regional learning center in the Sonora mountains; he seemed very friendly and popular with the other boys. Guy Wilson, defendant's sixth grade teacher, described defendant as a "pleasant child" who made a reasonable effort in the classroom and got along well with Wilson.

Susan Cabrera met defendant when he was about 11 and knew him at that time for a year or two. Cabrera, who was married and had a young child, was a neighbor and became acquainted with defendant's mother Laverne. Laverne's home was filthy and frequently smelled of marijuana. Laverne, who was a very large woman, was physically abusive to defendant. Once, when defendant had not done a chore, she slapped him with the back of her hand so hard that he "just flew." Cabrera often heard Laverne yelling at defendant and saying, " 'Ronnie, you didn't do this, and I'm going to beat the shit out of you.' "

Defendant visited Cabrera's house daily, and Cabrera would babysit defendant when his mother had to run errands or go out of town. Laverne would tell Cabrera she was leaving defendant with her for two days to visit friends and would end up leaving him for two weeks. Cabrera and defendant developed a mother-son relationship, and his grades went from D's and F's to A's and B's. Defendant asked Cabrera and her husband to adopt him. Cabrera spoke to Laverne about doing so, but Laverne declined, saying defendant was her only means of support. After this conversation, Laverne moved from the area with defendant, and Cabrera was unable to locate them. Cabrera next saw defendant when he was 18. Defendant, who still called Cabrera "Mom," visited her with his wife, Lisa, and his daughter at Cabrera's new home in Fresno. The two resumed their relationship, and at the time of trial were close friends.

Lisa Dement, defendant's wife, testified that she met defendant in 1978 or 1979 when she was 14 and he was 15. When they had their first child in 1980, defendant was in the California Youth Authority. When he was released, he went to live with Lisa at her parents' home. They were married in 1982 and eventually had two more children. Defendant introduced into evidence photographs of the children. When defendant was not incarcerated, he worked and provided for the children, taught them to "go the right way," and was "there for them."

Lisa was with defendant when he shot his brother David. She testified she had never seen defendant so intoxicated, or act in that manner. At one point that day defendant was crying, and said he just wanted his brother to apologize to him.

At the time of her testimony, Lisa no longer considered herself married to defendant. Defendant wrote to and telephoned their children, and Lisa's mother took the children to visit him in jail about twice a month. Defendant was close to his children, and if he were executed, it "would hurt them a lot."

Ruth Martinez Escobedo, Lisa's mother, testified that defendant was very helpful performing chores around the house, and worked at various jobs, including at one point assisting the Escobedos with their janitorial business. Ruth described defendant as a loving, patient, and compassionate father. Both she and Solomon Escobedo, Lisa's father, testified that they regarded defendant as a son.

Lori Escobedo, Lisa Dement's sister, testified that defendant was a good influence on her 13-year-old son Joshua. Joshua and defendant often spoke on the telephone, and defendant told Joshua to listen to his mother and go to school, and that jail was "no place to end up." Cathy Olage, another of Lisa Dement's sisters, testified she had known defendant since she was nine, and he was like a brother to her. Defendant always told her to do the right thing, to go to school, to avoid drug use, and to listen to her parents. At the time of trial, Cathy was married with children, had her own home, and was a tax examiner. She had never been in any kind of trouble, and often thought about the advice defendant gave her. Defendant had expressed regret for his life of crime and drug use. Defendant's sister, Lorraine, testified that if defendant were executed, a piece of Lorraine would also die.

Michael Wilson worked with defendant at a construction site, and was later incarcerated with him. Defendant worked long hours at the construction site, was very dependable, and his lead man had "good things to say about him all the time."

Al Medina, a member of Jehovah's Witnesses, had visited defendant in jail every week for about two and a half years. The two prayed and read scripture. Defendant appeared remorseful about "everything he's done in the past," and had begun to have a more positive attitude toward law enforcement officers. Joe Mora and Christopher Jackson, who had been incarcerated with defendant, testified regarding defendant's advice to other inmates to get an education and otherwise better themselves.

Tamara Scobee, who at the time of trial was incarcerated in a women's state prison for cocaine possession, testified that she had met defendant in the Fresno County jail. The two were very close, and Scobee hoped to marry defendant. Scobee described herself as a drug addict and said that defendant had assisted her in her resolve to stop using drugs. Maria Karacha testified she had known defendant for three years while he was incarcerated. Karacha had been romantically involved with defendant for nearly all of that time, but had ultimately decided they should just be friends. Defendant understood and was supportive of her decision. He sent her poetry and was "a very intelligent guy." His advice and experience had motivated her to work, stop using drugs and alcohol, and make plans to attend college in the fall.

Fresno County Sheriff's Department Correctional Officer George Lira testified he had transported defendant from court on several occasions as well as to other locations within the jail. He experienced no difficulty or security problem transporting defendant. Lira described defendant as an obviously "pretty smart guy" who enjoyed reading. His cell was very organized and clean.

b. Expert testimony

Dr. Howard Terrell, a psychiatrist, evaluated defendant. Terrell interviewed defendant twice, in January and May 1994. He also relied on a "wealth of information" regarding defendant's childhood background drawn from interviews with family members and other individuals, which had apparently been performed by an investigator. He opined that defendant suffered from an antisocial personality disorder, and that his manifestation of antisocial personality traits was quite severe. Individuals with this disorder lead lives that involve criminal behavior and violating the rules of society, and have manifested a strong pattern of improper behavior by the age of 15. As individuals with this disorder reach their 40s and 50s, the disorder tends to diminish or go into remission.

According to Dr. Terrell, defendant never met his biological father, and had no healthy father role model. The men his mother brought into the house were typically criminals and drug addicts, "people who were about the most horrible and awful role models you could . . . set before a child." When an individual is born with certain biological traits, such as an antisocial personality makeup, and then placed in an environment in which breaking the law is the norm or even encouraged, it is more likely that the person will develop an antisocial personality.

In elementary school, defendant was a good student and an exceptional athlete. He lived in an area where street gangs were prevalent, and at some point after the age of 12, defendant joined a Hispanic gang. His older brother Larry was a member of a white supremacist gang, which created conflict between defendant and his brother.

Defendant told Dr. Terrell that he had been a heavy drinker, and had used cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, and a combination of heroin with cocaine or methamphetamine called "speedballing." He had also sniffed either gasoline or paint fumes. Defendant told Terrell he had been using methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and alcohol continuously for at least three days before he shot his brother. Cocaine and methamphetamine tend to make the user more paranoid and violent. Individuals who were violent while on cocaine were only so in the short term, but chronic users of methamphetamine "can be paranoid, psychiatrically violent for days, weeks, months, even up to a year after the time they use the drug." Alcohol has variable effects depending on the user; some individuals become angry and engage in violent behavior. When these drugs are combined, the "potential for a disastrous outcome is even greater."

Dr. Terrell noted that all of defendant's siblings also suffered from substance abuse. Terrell would not generally expect every child in a family to have that problem, and opined that the cause was both genetics and the "horrible environment in which they were raised."

Dr. Terrell testified that when overcrowding of individuals was combined with the effects of alcohol, there was a greater propensity for violence. Terrell was familiar with the Fresno County jail, and opined that four individuals in a jail cell "would be a very unpleasant experience."

Dr. Hickey, who had appeared at the guilt phase for the defense, testified that the California State Prison, Corcoran and Pelican Bay State Prison were high security prisons. Based on defendant's record, Hickey would expect that if he received a sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, he would be sent to one of these two prisons. At Corcoran, inmates who posed a danger to other inmates were placed in the security housing unit or SHU. In the SHU, inmates were locked down 23 hours a day and had one hour a day to exercise. They enjoyed fewer privileges, such as working in a prison industry, than other inmates. They were not, however, always confined to a single cell, and were often allowed to mingle with other inmates. Some inmates were considered too dangerous to mingle, but even individuals within that group were sometimes allowed to do so on a trial basis. It is common for correctional facility inmates to possess shanks, and even within the SHU "weapons can be secured." Inmates such as defendant could eventually be transferred out of the SHU based in part on their behavior. By contrast, an individual on death row had the status of being a "marked man," and in Hickey's view, received "perhaps a little better treatment" than they might have in a SHU unit.

II. Discussion A. Pretrial Issue: Asserted Discrimination in Exercising Peremptory Challenges

Defendant contends that the prosecutor exercised his peremptory challenges in a discriminatory manner to exclude female prospective jurors in violation of various state and federal constitutional rights. (J.E.B. v. Alabama (1994) 511 U.S. 127, 129; Batson v. Kentucky (1986) 476 U.S. 79, 89; People v. Wheeler (1978) 22 Cal.3d 258, 272, 276-277 (Wheeler).) We agree with the trial court that ...


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