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Andre Burton - California Death Row
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Thread: Andre Burton - California Death Row

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010

    Andre Burton - California Death Row

    Summary of Offense:

    Convicted and sentenced to death for the 1983 murder of Gulshakar Khwaja. The murder was committed during the robbery of Gulshakar’s son, Anwar Khwaja. On the afternoon of February 25, 1983, Anwar Khwaja, the robbery victim and son of the murder victim, was parked in front of his mother’s home waiting for her and other family members to get into his car. Burton approached the vehicle, pointed a gun at Khwaja’s face, and demanded money. Even though Khwaja complied with the demand by telling Burton to take his money—a cloth bag containing $190 in coins he had just picked up from a Long Beach branch of the Bank of America—Burton shot him in the forehead and then through the eye. Khwaja, who remained conscious, saw Burton take the money bag. Burton was smiling or laughing contentedly. When Khwaja’s mother, Gulshakar Khwaja, approached the car, Burton shot her, fatally, in the chest. Khwaja identified Burton as the gunman at trial. So did Robert Cordova, a neighbor who looked out the window and saw Burton running down the street carrying a gun and a white canvas bag.

    Burton was sentenced to death in Los Angeles County on June 4, 1985.

  2. #2
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    In 1988, the California Supreme Court denied Burton's first habeas petition (California sometimes resolves habeas claims before direct appeals).

    In 1989, the California Supreme Court affirmed his death sentence on direct appeal.

    In 1990, the US Supreme Court denied certiorari.

    In 1993, Burton filed a second state habeas petition.

    In 1997, the California Supreme Court ordered an evidentiary hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

    In 2005, the Superior Court judge acting as a referee in the case finally issued his report, denying all of Burton's claims.

    In 2006, the California Supreme Court upheld the Superior Court ruling.

    In 2008, Burton filed a third state habeas petition.

    He still hasn't made it into federal court and yet he has never actually won any of his appeals!


  3. #3
    Administrator Jan's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2011

    On January 28, 2013, the Federal District Court GRANTED Burton's Writ of Habeas Corpus and VACATED his conviction.

    On February 27, 2013, the State of California appealed the granting of Burton's habeas petition.


  4. #4
    Administrator Moh's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    On March 10, 2016, the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit AFFIRMED the Federal District Court's granting of Burton's habeas petition. Judges Rawlinson (Clinton) and Bybee (G.W. Bush) affirmed. Judge O'Scannlain (Reagan) dissented.


  5. #5
    Senior Member CnCP Legend
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Bucks County Pennsylvania
    After 33 Years, Retrial Ordered on Calif. Murder

    (CN) - Forcing California to retry a man who has been on death row for decades, the Ninth Circuit slammed the trial court for trampling his right to represent himself.

    There are few details on the crime itself in the 63-page lead opinion, but a dissent says Andrew Burton shot Anwar Khwaja in the forehead and in the eye during a robbery on Feb. 25, 1983. "Smiling or laughing contentedly," 19-year-old Burton then shot Khwaja's mother, fatally, in the chest.

    He "chuckled" as he escaped, but was quickly arrested for Gulshakar Khwaja's murder, the dissent by Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain says. Khwaja's son survived, news reports on Burton's trial show.

    The case against Burton went to trial in Los Angeles in August, three months after its originally scheduled start of early May.

    While Burton's court-appointed attorney had requested the first continuance, the trial court ordered the next two delays by its own motion.

    By the time Judge D. Sterry Fagan finally called Burton's for trial on Aug. 10, Burton said he wanted to represent himself, claiming his attorney spent too little time with him.

    Fagan refused Burton's request, however, and did so again three more times during the brief trial. Each time, Fagan said he would not let Burton invoke his right to self-representation under the 1975 case Faretta v. California because Burton was not ready for trial.

    Though Fagan had cited a 60-day speedy-trial statute, the Ninth Circuit's ruling says this "concern was simply wrong.

    "The 60-day requirement was a limit on the government, not the defendant," a footnote in the ruling says. "Trial could be set on a date beyond the 60-day period 'at the request of the defendant or with his consent, express or implied.'"

    Burton has been facing the death penalty for Khwaja's murder since his sentencing on Aug. 23, 1983.

    Though he filed for federal habeas relief in 1992, these proceeds were put on hold for 16 years because of delays in the California court system. The state Supreme Court finally rejected Burton's case in 2005, and Burton petitioned for federal habeas relief again in 2008.

    With the district court agreeing that Burton's trial violated his Faretta rights to self-representation, the Ninth Circuit affirmed 2-1 Thursday from Pasadena.

    "As the district court correctly noted, it is not enough for the state to show the defendant would need a continuance in order to prepare his own defense," Judge Jay Bybee wrote for the majority." "Of course, the district court may consider whether trial would be delayed and whether such a delay would prejudice the prosecution, as well as whether the petitioner could reasonably have been expected to make the Faretta motion at an earlier time. But these factors are not dispositive. District courts must consider the totality of the circumstances to determine whether the petitioner's sole purpose in seeking to proceed pro se was to delay the proceedings." (Emphasis in original.)

    Judge O'Scannlain wrote in dissent that the state court gave Burton a "full, fair, and adequate" hearing on his Faretta claims, and that this court's findings is owed defederence.

    "If we take the California Supreme Court at face value, we are left with the clear determination that Burton's purpose in making his motion was to delay trial," O'Scannlain wrote.


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