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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 120556 Find in a Library
Title: California Judges Benchguide: Death Penalty Trials
Journal: CJER Journal  Issue:12  Dated:special issue (May 1989)  Pages:complete issue
Editor(s): J M Vesper
Date Published: 1989
Page Count: 69
Type: Legislation/Policy Description
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This benchguide is intended to assist judges in trying and sentencing defendants under California's death penalty law.
Abstract: The guide concentrates on the special circumstances and penalty proceedings of a capital case trial, but also covers those areas of guilt proceedings in a death penalty trial that are different from those in a noncapital case trial. Under California's 1978 death penalty law, a capital case is one in which the defendant has been convicted of first degree murder and in which the defendant is sentenced to death or life with no possibility of parole. The death penalty law cannot be applied retroactively, imposed on juveniles under 18 years of age, or administered in a case where it is not proven that the defendant intended to kill. Case law interpretation of death penalty crimes is reviewed, and guilt phase issues and procedures in capital cases are distinguished from noncapital cases. These issues concern pretrial matters such as bail, the guilty plea, motions, jury selection, trial phases, and special circumstances proceedings. Legal procedures relative to sanity and penalty determination are examined, including evidence admissibility, arguments, jury instructions, verdicts, and judgments of death and commitment. Consideration is also given to automatic appeal and suspension of the death penalty. Tables of statutes and cases are provided.
Main Term(s): Capital punishment
Index Term(s): California; Criminal procedures; Criminal proceedings; Sentencing guidelines
Note: Fifth Edition
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