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    1. #1
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      Juan Ramon Coronado, Jr. - California Death Row




      RIVERSIDE COUNTY: State Supreme Court takes on public defender issue

      The California Supreme Court decided Wednesday to review a trial judge’s order removing the Riverside County public defender’s office from a death penalty murder case.

      In a December hearing, Riverside County Superior Court Judge Christian Thierbach branded a lawyer for the public defender's office as ineffective and said there was “the very real appearance” that defense investigators may have tried to induce perjury in the case of client Juan Ramon Coronado Jr.

      Coronado and Eusebio Fierros were both charged in the 2008 robbery and murder of 85-year-old Lupe Delgadillo from the community of Good Hope, a rural area west of Perris.

      Fierros has been convicted, and jurors recommended the death penalty. He will be sentenced May 18. Coronado's case was severed from Fierros' trial by Thierbach's ruling.

      In announcing the 7-0 decision to take on the matter, the high court also kept in place a stay on the Coronando case it had earlier issued.

      But the justices did order new action.

      The case will be threaded backward through the local appellate court, with an order to Thierbach.

      The court said Thierbach needs to explain how he did not abuse discretion with both his decision removing the public defender’s office from the case, and with his denial of a plea from deputy public defender R. Addison Steele II for a private hearing to offer an explanation that Steele said included privileged attorney-client material.

      There was no timetable attached to the court’s order that accompanied its decision to grant the review petition.

      Thierbach acted after reviewing two defense memos, made three years apart and filed with Steele by different investigators who interviewed the same acquaintance of Coronado.

      The content of the memos differ significantly.

      One from 2008 said Coronado confessed his role in the murder to the friend. And there was a written suggestion from the investigator in that memo that it could be written “minus” the murder confession.

      The second interview memo from 2011 — with the same friend — suggested Coronado seemed unaware of the murder and was surprised to learn about it from a newspaper story.

      Steele insisted that the offer to write the 2008 memo without the confession was “a joke” and that the 2011 memo that implied Coronado was ignorant of the slaying was not the result of collusion between the investigators.

      http://www.pe.com/local-news/breakin...nder-issue.ece
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    2. #2
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      March 26, 2013

      RIVERSIDE COUNTY: Judge must reconsider ouster of public defender from capital murder trial

      By Richard K. De Atley

      A judge who took the rare step of kicking the Riverside County Public Defender’s office off a capital murder case for apparent conflict of interest will have to reconsider the matter, a state appellate court ruled Tuesday, March 26.

      The court ruled that Riverside County Superior Court Judge Christian Thierbach should have informed defendant Juan Ramon Coronado Jr. that there was problem with his defense counsel, appointed an independent attorney to consult with Coronado, and then asked if Coronado if he was willing to waive the issues.

      The appellate justices said the steps should be taken “although we believe there is substantial evidence to show that the public defender’s office has a potential conflict of interest.”

      They sent the matter back to Thierbach to set aside his original finding and hold a new hearing that follows their guidelines. The Riverside County District Attorney’s office had argued Thierbach’s ruling should stand.

      While the ruling gives Thierbach a new procedural roadmap for the pretrial ruling, the outcome may not change.

      The three-judge panel from the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Two, noted in its unpublished decision that judges have the power to remove appointed counsel, even over the objection and waiver of the defendant.

      Coronado and codefendant Eusebio Fierros were both charged in the 2008 robbery and murder of 85-year-old Lupe Delgadillo from the community of Good Hope, a rural area west of Perris.

      Fierros has since been convicted and sentenced to death. Coronado’s case was severed after Thierbach removed the public defender’s office from Coronado’s case in December 2011.

      The judge made the ruling after reviewing two defense memos, made three years apart by different investigators who had interviewed the same acquaintance of Coronado. The content of the memos differ significantly.

      A 2008 memo said the friend claimed Coronado had confessed to him his role in the murder. And there was a written suggestion from the investigator that the memo could be written “minus” mention of the murder confession.

      The second memo by a different investigator from 2011 – interviewing the same friend — suggested Coronado seemed unaware of the murder and was surprised to learn about it from a newspaper story.

      The judge said the public defender’s office accidental shipment of the conflicting memos to prosecutors was tantamount to ineffective counsel, and said there was “the very real appearance” that defense investigators may have tried to induce perjury.

      The appellate opinion written by Presiding Justice Manuel Ramirez noted that the situation in the Coronado case looked at an area not previously reached by the state Supreme Court.

      In one cited case, the high court had ruled that even if a judge had abused discretion in removing counsel, the defendant had failed to show prejudice.

      “We are confronted with the exact issue that the Supreme Court did not decide,” Ramirez wrote, “whether the trial court did abuse its discretion in removing the public defender.”

      In the absence of clear law, Ramirez said that before removing appointed defense counsel, “we believe the better course is for the court to advise the defendant of the problem, and if possible, to secure a knowing and intelligent waiver.” Ramirez said a declaration by Coronado to the appellate court was “insufficient.”

      The procedure should also include appointment of independent counsel to confer with Coronado, Ramirez wrote. “We believe the trial court abused its discretion by failing to follow these guidelines when confronted with this situation.”

      The public defender’s office, which had appealed Thierbach’s ruling, did not argue that its attorney should have been given a chance to explain the circumstances of the memos to the judge during a closed-door hearing in December 2011.

      “Instead, it is argued that if we find the removal order cannot stand, we should issue an order to that effect and let the trial judge exercise his discretion from there,” the ruling stated.

      Associate Justices Betty Ann Richli and Jeffrey King concurred.

      Either side can petition the state Supreme Court to hear an appeal.

      http://blog.pe.com/crime/2013/03/26/...-murder-trial/

    3. #3
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      Jury recommends death in elderly man's slaying

      A Riverside County Superior Court jury is recommending a second defendant be sentenced to death for his murder conviction in the beating and shooting death of an 85-year-old Good Hope man in a robbery seven years ago.

      Judge Christian Thierbach will sentence Juan Ramon Coronado Jr., 28, of Perris, on April 17, following the jury’s verdict late Monday, March 9.

      Victim Lupe Delgadillo was a member of a Corona family who worked in the citrus industry and later construction and lived in a rural area near Perris where he could grow vegetables that he shared with family and friends, family members testified during the penalty phase of the trial.

      Known as a giving man, Delgadillo gave a ride to a teenage girl in his red Mustang, but in an encounter planned by the defendants met Eusebio Fierros, 25, of Perris, who beat him, threw him in the trunk of the Mustang and picked up Coronado, according to court records. After hours in the trunk, Coronado shot Delgadillo in the face. His body was dumped into a ravine. Fierros was sentenced to death in 2012 for the crime.

      The girl, Kristina Lynn Allen, who was 17 at the time, has been charged in adult court with murder and carjacking.

      Coronado was also convicted of being a felon in possession of a firearm and special circumstances, including that the victim was killed during a robbery.

      In closing arguments during the penalty phase of the trial, prosecutor Jared Haringsma called Coronado a predator, defined by the choices he has made in life, who laughed when telling someone later about the robbery.

      By all accounts, Coronado had a happy childhood in a two-parent home, but started using alcohol and marijuana as a teenager, sometimes smoking with his father.

      There was evidence that the victim pleaded for his life, but “this plea fell on deaf ears, there was no mercy extended,” Haringsma said. “Mercy does not rain down on the unremorseful and nonrepentant.”

      He noted that Coronado had been incarcerated for most of his adult life, and testimony during trial showed that he has a history of assaulting other inmates, making illegal weapons in jail and not following orders of jailers.

      Christian Jensen, one of Coronado’s attorneys, reminded jurors in the penalty phase that each of them must weigh the factors in mitigation and aggravation and each has “the power to chose life” in prison, instead of recommending a death sentence.

      “Your job is to search for value,” he said. “It is a life to be spared” and a vote for life does not diminish the seriousness of the acts.

      Coronado’s trial was separated from that of Fierros and delayed pending appeals when questions arose about how Riverside County Public Defender’s Office personnel handled his defense and procedural steps taken by Judge Thierbach to remove the public defender’s office from the case.

      In April 2012, the state Supreme Court directed the Riverside-based Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Two, to order the Superior Court judge to address the technical issues.

      According to minutes of a subsequent Superior Court hearing, the public defender’s office declared a conflict and was relieved from representing Coronado, rendering the issues moot.

      http://www.pe.com/articles/coronado-...ourt-life.html
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    4. #4
      Man sentenced to death for murdering 85-year-old

      A Perris man was sentenced to death Friday, April 17, for his involvement in the beating and shooting death of an 85-year-old Good Hope man in 2008.

      Juan Ramon Coronado Jr., 28, appeared in a Riverside County courtroom Friday before Judge Christian Thierbach. Thierbach upheld a Riverside County Superior Court jury’s March 9 recommendation that Coronado receive the death penalty for the first-degree murder of Lupe Delgadillo, 85.

      Delgadillo’s friends and family members made comments in court Friday supporting the jury’s decision. Delgadillo’s niece, Patricia Welch, said she didn’t understand why Coronado killed her uncle after he begged for his life, a life Welch said was long and fulfilled.

      “How can you be so heartless?” Welch said. “He was pleading for his life and he had so much to live for. He was robbed of celebrating his 90th birthday, which he was so looking forward to.”

      Monica Delgadillo, another of the victim’s nieces, said in court Friday that the family and community will miss his kind, joyful nature.

      “(Delgadillo) had a wonderful spirit about him,” she said. “But we will never hear his laugh or see his smile ever again.”

      Known as a giving man, Delgadillo on Jan. 23, 2008 gave a ride to Kristina Lynn Allen, then 17, in his red mustang. As planned by the defendants, Delgadillo encountered 25-year-old Eusebio Fierros, who beat him and threw him in trunk of the Mustang.

      Fierros then drove the Mustang to pick up Coronado. After Delgadillo was trapped in the trunk for hours, Coronado shot him in the face. Delgadillo’s body was then dumped into a ravine.

      Fierros was sentenced to death in 2012 for the crime.

      Allen, who is now 24, faces charges of murder and carjacking.

      In court Friday, Delgadillo’s nephew-in-law Bruce Welch, expressed that though Coronado was sentenced to death, Delgadillo’s family was still distraught by the tragedy of his death.

      “(the punishment) doesn’t even come close to matching the evil that you have done,” Welch said.

      http://www.pe.com/articles/delgadill...-coronado.html

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