Tag Archives: judge

Judge rules out death penalty for Scott Dekraai in Seal Beach mass murder case

Scott Dekraai, 47, is lead to his seat beside his attorney Scott Sanders, right, in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana on Friday, August 18, 2017. In a ruling, Orange County Superior Court Judge Judge Thomas Goethals took the death penalty off the table for the confessed killer because he concluded law enforcement would not ensure the defendant a fair penalty trial. Dekraai pleaded guilty to killing eight people and wounding another in an October 2011 shooting spree at a Seal Beach salon. (Photo by Mark Rightmire, Orange County Register/SCNG)
Scott Dekraai, 47, is lead to his seat beside his attorney Scott Sanders, right, in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana on Friday, August 18, 2017. In a ruling, Orange County Superior Court Judge Judge Thomas Goethals took the death penalty off the table for the confessed

Read more at: http://www.ocregister.com/2017/08/18/judge-rules-out-death-penalty-for-scott-dekraai-in-seal-beach-mass-murder-case/

Judge weighs removing death penalty for mass killer

A California judge is expected to rule Friday whether a convicted mass killer should be spared the death penalty because of a long-running scandal over authorities’ use of jailhouse informants.

Judge Thomas M. Goethals will decide whether 47-year-old Scott Dekraai should remain eligible for the death penalty or sentenced to life without parole for killing eight people in a 2011 shooting rampage at an Orange County hair salon.

Defense lawyers want Goethals to take death off the table for Dekraai, arguing that repeated failures by sheriff’s authorities to reveal records related to informants show the agency can’t be trusted to turn over evidence favoring their client.

The California attorney general’s office says there’s no indication authorities have evidence that would assist Dekraai in the limited scope of a penalty phase hearing and that the former tugboat operator can still get a fair

Read more at: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/judge-weighs-removing-death-penalty-mass-killer-49289732

Judge will determine whether Seal Beach mass murderer will face …



In a Santa Ana courtroom Friday morning, Scott Evans Dekraai will learn whether he could face execution for the worst mass killing in Orange County history.

After six years of delay and a series of controversies that rocked the county’s criminal justice system, Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals has two options. He can open the way for a jury to decide 47-year-old Dekraai’s fate.

Or Goethals could become one of the rare judges to take execution off the table for a convicted murderer because of law enforcement misconduct. In that case, Goethals would likely sentence Dekraai to eight consecutive life terms without parole.

Judge will determine whether Seal Beach mass murderer will face death penalty



In a Santa Ana courtroom Friday morning, Scott Evans Dekraai will learn whether he could face execution for the worst mass killing in Orange County history.

After six years of delay and a series of controversies that rocked the county’s criminal justice system, Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals has two options. He can open the way for a jury to decide 47-year-old Dekraai’s fate.

Or Goethals could become one of the rare judges to take execution off the table for a convicted murderer because of law enforcement misconduct. In that case, Goethals would likely sentence Dekraai to eight consecutive life terms without parole.

Judge won’t toss death sentence for carjacking killer of 2 New England men

BOSTON (AP) — A drifter convicted of killing two Massachusetts men in carjackings in 2001 has been denied his bid to toss the death sentence he received earlier this year.

Gary Lee Sampson was sentenced for a second time to death for the killing of 19-year-old college student Jonathan Rizzo but was given a life sentence for the killing of 69-year-old retiree Philip McCloskey. Sampson was first condemned to die in 2003.

The Boston Globe reports the judge wrote in his decision Tuesday that there was evidence permitting jurors to conclude Sampson “intended to kill” Rizzo “from the time they met.”

Sampson’s lawyers have said he was brain damaged when he carjacked and fatally stabbed Rizzo and McCloskey.

He continued his killing spree in New Hampshire, where he strangled Robert Whitney, a former Concord city councilor. Sampson was sentenced separately in New Hampshire to a life term.

Read more at: http://www.nh1.com/news/judge-won-t-toss-death-sentence-for-carjacking-killer-of-2-new-england-men/

Judge Set to Rule on Whether Seal Beach Mass Murderer Faces Death Penalty

Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals will rule Aug. 18 whether to block mass murderer Scott Dekraai from receiving the death penalty and determine if the Sheriff’s Department can be trusted to turn over all records ordered by the court.

Attorneys gave their final arguments Thursday to close an evidentiary hearing which started in late May in which Dekraai’s attorneys alleged the District Attorney’s office and Sheriff’s Department  failed to provide court-ordered records in the past. The defense lawyers contend its possible the DA and Sheriff’s Department still haven’t turned over everything and suggest Dekraai  should be spared the death penalty because he won’t receive a fair trial on the penalty he is to face for the murders.

If

Read more at: http://voiceofoc.org/2017/08/judge-set-to-rule-on-whether-seal-beach-mass-murderer-faces-death-penalty/

Judge to decide whether suspects in Wilkinsburg mass shooting will be tried separately – Tribune

Updated 3 hours ago

An Allegheny County judge said Thursday he expects to decide this month whether two men accused of fatally shooting five adults and an unborn child in Wilkinsburg will be tried separately or together.

Cheron Shelton and Robert Thomas remain jailed while they await trial on charges they orchestrated the March 9, 2016, mass shooting at a backyard gathering on Franklin Avenue.

Defense attorneys filed a motion last month to try their cases separately.

Randall McKinney, an attorney for Shelton, has argued that his client’s defense would be hurt by evidence against Thomas, including statements that Thomas is alleged to have made to two jailhouse informants regarding the alleged shooting.

Prosecutors, in a response filed Thursday, argued that testimony from one informant, Frederick Collins, will not be used in trial — something decided in court

Read more at: http://triblive.com/local/allegheny/12581994-74/judge-to-decide-whether-suspects-in-wilkinsburg-mass-shooting-will-be-tried

OC Sheriff Must Testify In Seal Beach Mass Murderer’s Case, Judge Says

SEAL BEACH, CA — Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals threatened to order Sheriff Sandra Hutchens to testify about allegations of misconduct surrounding the death penalty trial of the county’s worst mass murderer this week.

This will be the third evidentiary hearing, as Goethals determines whether or not to take the death penalty off the table in upcoming sentencing of admitted Seal Beach salon mass murderer Scott Evans Dekraai.

Goethals stated that he will have Hutchens testify at an evidentiary hearing involving allegations of outrageous governmental misconduct in the use of jailhouse snitches.

The hearing stems from the case against Seal Beach mass murderer, Scott Evans Dekraai, the worst mass killer in the county’s history.

“The sheriff needs to testify,” Goethals said. “I don’t particularly care who calls her to testify.”

The judge said he wants to hear from Hutchens, especially following testimony by sheriff’s Commander Jon Briggs that the department was

Read more at: https://patch.com/california/losalamitos/oc-sheriff-must-testify-seal-beach-mass-murderers-case-judge-says

Federal judge tosses out life sentences for DC sniper Malvo

A federal judge on Friday tossed out two life sentences for one of Virginia’s most notorious criminals, sniper Lee Boyd Malvo, and ordered Virginia courts to hold new sentencing hearings.

In his ruling, U.S. District Judge Raymond Jackson in Norfolk said Malvo is entitled to new sentencing hearings after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that mandatory life sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional.

Malvo was 17 when he was arrested in 2002 for a series of shootings that killed 10 people and wounded three over a three-week span in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia, causing widespread fear throughout the region.

His accomplice, John Allen Muhammad, was executed in 2009.

Malvo also was sentenced to life in prison in Maryland for the murders that occurred there. But his lawyers have made an appeal on similar grounds in that state. A hearing is scheduled in June.

Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Ray Morrogh,

Read more at: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/federal-judge-tosses-life-sentences-dc-sniper-malvo-47670144

Judge ‘underwhelmed’ by sheriff’s search for evidence in OC snitch scandal

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department insists it has been working hard to comply with a judge’s long-standing orders to divulge records concerning its handling of jailhouse informants.

On Tuesday, however, a 24-year veteran of the department testified that he did not know whether anyone in the department had gone through 68 banker’s boxes worth of files — including informant-related material — dating from the 1980s.

Lt. Andrew Stephens testified that he took possession of the boxes — each containing 100 files — in late 2016, when he took over the jail’s Custody Intelligence Unit, which handles informants.

“I am underwhelmed at this moment by the diligence of the search, based on what this witness said,” Orange County Superior Court Judge Thomas Goethals said after Stephens’ testimony.

Scott Dekraai is central to hearings underway this week before Goethals.

It is the third

Read more at: http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-jailhouse-informant-case-20170523-story.html