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Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Peterson Murder Convictions Reexamined

murder conviction

In 2000, Richelle Nice filed a lawsuit to get a restraining order against her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend, according to The Los Angeles Times. The ex-girlfriend had harassed Nice while she was 4½ months pregnant, allegedly. Why is a 20-year lawsuit important? Nice was one of the jurors in the infamous Scott Peterson case. 

Peterson, you may remember, was charged and convicted of first-degree murder in 2004. He received the death penalty for killing his pregnant wife Lacie Peterson and unborn child; Lacie was due to give birth in 4 weeks at the time of her death. The Peterson murder case dominated headlines in California and was practically all that was talked about on Court TV. 

Now, sixteen years later, Scott Peterson is back in the headlines; the California Supreme Court overturned his death sentence in August, NPR reports. Last week, the court called for a re-examination of the murder convictions. 

The court's decision to overturn the death sentence and order a re-examination is directly linked to some questions Nice answered dishonestly during jury selection. 


Prejudicial Misconduct


When prosecutors and defense attorneys consider prospective jurors, they are asked a series of questions. The State and the defense try to determine if an individual can be impartial and unbiased when sitting on a jury. 

During jury selection in the Peterson case, Nice said "no" when asked if she had ever been a victim of a crime or involved in a lawsuit, the article reports. Interestingly, according to his lawyers, Nice was one of the jury's two holdouts for convicting Peterson of murder. Her failure to disclose that she had been involved in prior legal proceedings could be the impetus for a new trial. 

"I think this is going to be ironic ... if it turns out that the juror who was most prominent in the post-trial proceedings and who is most adamant about Peterson's guilt, is going to turn out to be ... the very juror whose actions caused the reversal of the conviction and a new trial," said Johnson, a legal analyst. "And I think there's a very, very good chance that we may see a second Scott Peterson trial." 

We will continue to follow this story as it develops. 


Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney


If you are facing legal challenges in California, please contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower. Attorney Brower is a criminal defense attorney specializing in many areas, from aggravated assault to white-collar crimes. You can reach us today at 714-997-4400 for a consultation.

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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Prison Inmates Kept Working Amid Pandemic


Life in America has changed significantly. Social distancing meant not congregating and adhering to stay at home orders. Tens of millions of people were laid off as the economy halted to a standstill. Naturally, the COVID-19 pandemic affected the incarcerated; millions of Americans are behind bars—housed in tight quarters. 

Fortunately, prisons suspended rehab programs, religious services, and educational classes, according to The Los Angeles Times. On the surface, the above action would signal that correctional facilities were prioritizing inmates' well-being. However, prison factories kept running, even after the coronavirus had jumped the prison fence, infecting inmates and guards alike. 

While businesses shut down across America, men and women working in prison factories were ordered to keep working. The health and safety of inmates were jeopardized, the article reports. Ironically, female inmates sewing personal protective equipment like face masks were not allowed to wear masks themselves. 

Not surprisingly, some of those same women became sick, such as Robbie Hall, an inmate seamstress at the California Institution for Women in Chino. Hall and her fellow workers knew that they were at risk but had to keep working. 


Incarcerated Workers Contracted COVID-19


For 8 cents to $1 an hour, thousands of inmates kept working as the coronavirus spread across the prison system. Millions of dollars were made off of prison labor at the height of the pandemic. Prisoners were making masks, hand sanitizers, and furniture. 

Some inmates were forced to COVID-19 units in prison hospitals. Hall and at least three other mask makers got sick after using fabric from the nearby men's prison, where 23 inmates died from the coronavirus. What's more, the women's boss visited both institutions on several occasions. 

Not only were women sewing masks for next to no compensation, but supervisors also kept raising the daily quotas, from 2,000 to 3,000 to 3,500 face covers, seven days a week, at the California Institution for Women.

"It is a bureaucratic decision to keep people working for pennies an hour during a pandemic," said Kate Chatfield, director of policy at the Justice Collaborative, a national organization that advocates for criminal justice reform. "This should appall everyone who wants to live in a civilized society." 

Hall was laid up for weeks, struggling to breathe, in the hospital unit. Her sickness was not an isolated event. She was among 352 inmates and 85 staffers who have been infected at the Chino women's prison.


Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney


Please contact the Law Office of Ronald G. Brower if you are facing legal challenges. Attorney Brower has decades of criminal defense experience, and he can help you achieve a favorable outcome.

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Friday, October 2, 2020

California Grocers Back Prop 20

proposition 20

Last week, we shared about efforts to roll back criminal justice this November. If you didn't have a chance to read the post, we encourage you to do so. It always helps to be informed before you enter the voting booth in November. 

Let's quickly recap. Next month you will be asked if you would like to erode Proposition 47, which reduced the California prison populations. Prop.47 meant early parole and downgraded sentences for thousands of inmates. It allowed the state to invest more in rehabilitation to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars. It also changed the severity of certain crimes, such as shoplifting. 

You will also be asked to weigh in on how you feel about money or cash bail in the Golden State. Voting "no" on Proposition 25 could lead to a repeal of Senate Bill 10. If SB-10 stands, then the question of who gets bail will land on the judges' desks—cash bail would go away for detained suspects. 

As we have pointed out in previous posts, law enforcement organizations are not fans of both Prop. 47 and SB-10. However, other groups would like to see criminal justice reforms rolled back, such as grocery stores. 


Grocery Stores Want to Erode Prop. 47


Grocery outlets joined law enforcement organizations in standing behind Prop. 20, The Los Angeles Times reports. The legislation would mean that people who commit certain theft-related crimes (such as repeat shoplifting) could receive increased penalties (such as longer jail terms).

Albertsons, Kroger, and the California Grocers Association are the largest commercial entities backing Prop 20. According to the article, they argue that the legislation is needed because shoplifting and organized retail crime are on the rise. They say that grocers have suffered significant financial losses and that employees and customers are not safe. 

The National Retail Federation conducted a study which found that theft or "shrinkage" was at an all-time high. In the 2019 fiscal year, theft cost the industry $61.7 billion. That only amounts to 1.62 percent of retailers' profits. 


"People are stealing, and there are no consequences," said Richard Temple, a spokesman for the Yes on Prop. 20 campaign. 


Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney


Please reach out to The Law Office of Ronald G. Brower if you or a family member face criminal charges in California. Attorney Brower has decades of experience in helping to bring about favorable outcomes for his clients. Please call (714) 997-4400 for a consultation.

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