Su­prem­a­cist’s death sen­tence over­turned

Lodi News-Sentinel - - PAGE TWO - By Maura Dolan

SAN FRAN­CISCO — The Cal­i­for­nia Supreme Court unan­i­mously over­turned the death sen­tence of a San Diego man Thurs­day, rul­ing that the pros­e­cu­tion im­prop­erly fo­cused on the de­fen­dant’s racist be­liefs.

In a de­ci­sion writ­ten by Jus­tice Leon­dra R. Kruger, the state high court said the pros­e­cu­tor made in­flam­ma­tory ar­gu­ments about the de­fen­dant’s racist tat­toos and white su­prem­a­cist be­liefs “for the very sake of high­light­ing their of­fen­sive­ness” rather than for a le­git­i­mate pur­pose con­nected to the crime.

The First Amend­ment does not per­mit the pros­e­cu­tion to ask a jury to re­turn a par­tic­u­lar ver­dict be­cause the de­fen­dant holds of­fen­sive be­liefs, the court said. In­stead, there must be a nexus to the crime or the de­fen­dant’s propen­sity for vi­o­lence.

The rul­ing means that Jeffrey Scott Young, con­victed of the two first-de­gree mur­ders, an at­tempted murder and a car­jack­ing, must be given a new trial on whether he should be con­demned to death or his sen­tence will be re­duced to life with­out pos­si­bil­ity of pa­role.

The killings oc­curred dur­ing a 1999 rob­bery of a Five Star Park, Shut­tle & Fly park­ing lot near the San Diego In­ter­na­tional Air­port.

An em­ployee of the park­ing lot planned the rob­bery, and Young and two ac­com­plices com­mit­ted it.

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