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California Inmate Wins Death Penalty Reprieve

SAN FRANCISCO (UPI) — The death sentence of Douglas Stankewitz, California’s longest-serving death row inmate, was overturned by a federal appeals court.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals decided Monday in a 2-1 ruling that Stankewitz, convicted of murdering Theresa Greybeal in 1978 in Fresno, should be re-sentenced to life imprisonment without parole unless prosecutors want to retry the penalty phase of his murder trial.

Stankewitz’s conviction stands, but the appellate panel said his lawyer made only a “paltry” attempt to persuade jurors against a death sentence, ignored documentation of the defendant’s “deprived and abusive upbringing,” potential mental illness and long history of substance abuse.

The ruling upheld a decision by a district court judge, Diarmuid F. O’Scannlain, who reviewed the case, the Los Angeles Times reported Tuesday.

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  • 45caliber

    In other words, if a criminal drinks or takes drugs he is no longer responsible for the crimes he commits. The courts ruled years ago that criminals were responsible in such a position because they took the drugs in the first place.

    Further, if they were abused as children they aren’t responsible – despite the thousands and millions of other who were also abused and did NOT turn to crime.

    And they have a low IQ? So what? Even retarded people know right from wrong.

  • speedy

    And I live in this state where Liberals are thinking this way. When I was raised my parents taught me you do the crime you pay the price. I am a recovering alcoholic/addict and even tho what I was doing to myself was bad I never used it as any kind of an excuse to inflict damage on any one else. If you are in California you have 2 props you really need to look at how your going to vote coming on Nov 6.

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