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Thread: Paul Gordon Smith, Jr. - California

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    Paul Gordon Smith, Jr. - California

    smith_paul_ca.jpg




    Facts of the Crime:

    Sentenced to death on November 5, 2002 in Shasta County for the March 25, 1998 torture-murder of a 20-year-old Washington woman.

  2. #2
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    Smith's case has been fully briefed on direct appeal before the California Supreme Court since April 18, 2012.

    http://appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.g...doc_no=S112442

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    On February 4, 2015, oral argument was held in Smith's direct appeal before the California Supreme Court.

    http://appellatecases.courtinfo.ca.g...doc_no=S112442

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    California high court overturns death penalty

    The California Supreme Court has overturned a Redding man's death sentence.

    The high court ruled Monday that Paul Gordon Smith Jr. didn't receive a proper sentencing trial. The unanimous court said an expert was improperly barred from testifying that Smith would be less of a danger to escape on San Quentin's Death Row than he was in the Shasta County jail awaiting trial. The jury was told of Smith's several attempts to escape from jail and violent attitude toward guards. A prison expert was barred from telling the jury that security is tighter at San Quentin.

    Smith was convicted of torturing and killing 20-year-old Lori Sinner during a 1998 camping trip. The court upheld Smith's murder conviction. Smith could face another penalty-trial or be sentenced to life in prison.

    http://www.recorderonline.com/news/s...42b5f6c94.html
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    Lawyer claims client never deserved death penalty

    REDDING, Calif. - Nearly 15 years ago, Jeffrey Jens represented Paul Gordon Smith Junior, the man convicted of killing 20-year-old Lora Sinner during a 1998 camping trip. Smith was also convicted of an attempted murder charge while he was in the Shasta County Jail.

    This week, the California Supreme Court ruled that Smith did not get a proper sentencing trial and therefore he is no longer on death row, for now. Jens shared he is happy his former client's death sentence was overturned.

    "I've had 350 jury trials and to have somebody on death row, it's something that you can't quite forget and to have that overturned and have that off your conscious at this stage in my career means a lot," Jens said about his former client Smith.

    Jens said the case never should have been a death penalty case because Smith is not a dangerous person.

    In an interview with KRCR News Channel 7 in 2002, Jens said Smith had a "far from normal," childhood.

    "He was raped by his father over and over again. He was neglected, abandoned, abused, and then shuffled into the system. He never really had a chance. He has a brain dysfunction. This is not the kind of person that you put to death this is the kind of person that gets life without parole," Jens shared in 2002.

    On Monday, the high court ruled that an expert was wrongly prevented from testifying. The jury was told of Smith's several attempts to escape from the jail and his violent attitude toward guards.

    The court said a prison expert was barred from telling the jury that security is tighter at San Quentin, which is where Smith resides currently.

    Smith could face another death penalty trial or he may be sentenced to life in prison.

    The Shasta County District Attorney's office said they haven't started reviewing the case and they have not made a decision about whether or not they will retry the penalty phase.

    http://www.krcrtv.com/lawyer-claims-...nalty/32682066

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    D.A. won't retry death penalty phase for convicted killer

    REDDING, Calif. - The Shasta County District Attorney's office announced Thursday it will not retry the death penalty phase for convicted killer Paul Gordon Smith, Jr.

    "Certainly, Paul Smith deserves the death penalty," Shasta County District Attorney Steve Carlton said before he announced his decision. Carlton stated Smith will serve a life sentence in a maximum security state prison.

    "Where he is going, is going to be executed," said Stewart Jankowitz, Shasta County Senior Deputy District Attorney.

    Fifteen years after he was sentenced to death, in April the California Supreme Court overturned his death sentence, ruling that Smith did not get a proper sentencing trial.

    With the death sentence overturned, the case was turned back over to the Shasta District Attorney Carlton to determine if he would retry the death penalty phase and attempt to get another death sentence.

    At a news conference Thursday morning, Carlton said his office had decided not to retry the penalty phase for a variety of reasons.

    One of the reasons Carlton cited was the cost of between $1 million and $2 million.

    "It was a hard decision because Paul Smith Jr. definitely deserves the death penalty," Jankowitz shared.

    Carlton said retrying the case would take a tremendous amount of investigative resources away from other cases. But he added, his prosecutors believe they have enough witnesses and evidence to get another death penalty verdict if they pursued it.

    "Paul Smith deserves to be executed," Carlton said. "Paul Smith is going to die in prison, whether he was executed or dies in a prison bed. He would never get out of prison alive."

    Smith was convicted of torturing and killing 20-year-old Lora Sinner during a 1998 camping trip and an attempted murder charge while he was in the Shasta County Jail.

    The high court ruled that an expert was wrongly prevented from testifying. The jury was told of Smith's several attempts to escape from the jail and his violent attitude toward guards.

    A prison expert was barred from telling the jury that security is tighter at San Quentin.

    Sinner's brother Jason told KRCR News Channel 7 that his family is outraged about the decision.

    "I highly disagree with the decision and feel that it's an injustice to the memory of my sister. my sister Lora deserves more. She was a wonderful girl," Sinner said about his sister.

    http://www.krcrtv.com/news/local/da-...iller/33959982

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    Killer resentenced after California Supreme Court let him off death row

    The capital sentence of a Redding man who spent 13 years on death row has been converted to life without the possibility of parole for the gruesome torture and prolonged beating to death of 20-year-old Lora Sinner while they were camping in 1998 in the Trinity Alps.

    Paul Gordon Smith Jr. was resentenced in absentia Wednesday in Shasta Superior Court for the murder of Sinner, of Hoquiam, Wash. Shasta County District Attorney Stephen Carlton announced earlier in July that his office would not retry the penalty phase of Smith’s trial. He will be moved off San Quentin State Prison’s death row.

    The California Supreme Court in April overturned the sentence, ruling that Smith was improperly barred from calling an expert witness during the penalty phase. The high court upheld Smith’s 2002 conviction of first-degree murder.

    “Paul Smith certainly deserves to be executed,” Carlton was quoted as saying in the Redding Record Searchlight, announcing his decision not to return to court. But, he said, it would likely cost the county between $1 million and $2 million to retry the penalty phase and, he added, it’s highly unlikely Smith would ever be executed even if he were resentenced to death.

    Stew Jankowitz, a former senior deputy district attorney who was asked to review the case for Carlton’s office after the Supreme Court’s decision, agreed with Carlton’s decision, calling the death penalty in California “an illusion,” the Record Searchlight reported.

    Since 1978, more than 850 people have been sentenced to death in California, but only 13 have been executed – the last being in 2006, when executions were halted by a federal judge, who found the intravenous method used by the state may pose too much risk for pain to be constitutionally sound.

    The Record Searchlight quoted Jankowitz as saying that many legal and law enforcement experts believe the death penalty will probably be abolished in California within the next five years.

    He noted that Sinner’s family wants Smith put to death, and Smith wants to be retried because, Jankowitz said, he would then be sent back to death row, with a private cell, private shower, private meals and other perks.

    “I hate to say it, but those on death row have the most beneficial incarceration,” he added, according to the Record Searchlight.

    Jason Sinner, a brother of the victim, said in an email: “We as a family are outraged that justice has not prevailed in this case. The death penalty is a law that exists in California at this time. It is a right to every victim to have it considered fairly in relationship to the evidence in the case. This crime was brutal in nature and is deserving of this penalty.”

    http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/art...#storylink=cpy

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