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MCSTAY MURDERS: The State of California v. Charles Merritt *GUILTY*

Discussion in 'Courtroom' started by MartinBeck, May 19, 2015.

  1. Bushwack Jack

    Bushwack Jack Active Member

    You nor anyone else knows who she's referring to. She may very well have been referring to her other brother Bennett, who had just told off the reporter. I also believe that you're violating the TOS here by slandering a witness with your unsubstantiated BS.
    ima.grandma, Paradise, Akoya and 2 others like this.
  2. Freebird

    Freebird Well-Known Member

    Several lengthy investigations? I know of two. One by SD and one by SB. Neither were conclusive. One was wrong. Had the family voluntarily in Mexico. The other was filled with holes and incomplete.
  3. TX SMR

    TX SMR Posting my personal opinions

    The FBI was also involved. Obviously the investigations were thorough enough for a jury of 12 peers to see Merritt for what he is: a baby killer.
    Freida and Paradise like this.
  4. Freebird

    Freebird Well-Known Member

    Nope won’t accept it. We’ll never agree. Lack of evidence connecting to murder.

    Thinking the Innocence Project might pick this one up.
  5. Freida

    Freida Well-Known Member

    Scott Peterson has sat on death row for 14 years waiting on appeal. Does anyone know how long the average wait is in Calif?
    TX SMR, ima.grandma and Paradise like this.
  6. Freebird

    Freebird Well-Known Member

    Timeframes and Deadlines for Filing California Felony Appeals
    California felony appeals are generally filed in the California Court of Appeal.14 If, however, your original case was a federal crime, you would file your felony appeal first with the United States Court of Appeal for the Ninth Circuit and, if need be, ultimately with the Supreme Court of the United States.

    The California Court of Appeal is divided into six judicial districts that service the entire state. You must file your appeal in the district that has jurisdiction over the county in which your trial took place.

    You must file your felony Notice of Appeal within 60 days of the judgment or order that you are appealing. And…as is the case with misdemeanor appeals…late appeals will not be filed.15

    Felony appeals involve the same steps as misdemeanor appeals (that is, notice, briefs, oral argument, etc.).16 Generally speaking, felony appeals take about a year from the time the Notice of Appeal is filed until the Court of Appeal renders its decision. This timeframe may be longer or shorter depending on the complexity of the case, on the number of briefs, the length of the transcripts, etc.

    Once the Court of Appeal announces its decision, either party has an opportunity to apply to the Supreme Court of California for review. This application must be submitted within 10 days after the Court of Appeal files its opinion.17 The Supreme Court does not automatically accept every appeal and, in fact, is quite discriminating in deciding which cases to review.18
  7. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    I, personally, have a problem with the death penalty. I find it convoluted to kill someone for killing someone. I don't believe anyone has the right to take the life of another human being, although I sadly make a value concession for the military and law enforcement. The death penalty for one who has murdered is too easy. An injection just takes all responsibility away. I would much rather see a murderer spend the remainder of their life in a spartan cell where the person can only think about the egregious act that was committed. Death Row is for murderers who aren't being rehabilitated for society and they aren't going anywhere. Prison shouldn't be at all pleasant for convicted murderers.

    Chase Merritt has been found guilty of killing the McStays. I don't believe Chase acted alone, but that doesn't mean he doesn't have responsibility for the murders. Additional accomplices don't at all exclude Chase from responsibility. I want to feel the McStays have had the justice that is due to them. I don't believe they have received full justice with a verdict for only Chase Merritt. Chase will probably be sent to join Scott Peterson on California's Death Row at San Quentin. I hope his cell doesn't soon look like a Best Buy showroom.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2019 at 8:01 PM
  8. Freebird

    Freebird Well-Known Member

    Defense in McStay family murder trial will not present penalty phase evidence
    Attorneys for Charles 'Chase' Merritt say they will appeal to any lingering doubts the jury may have in the case.

    Attorneys for Charles “Chase” Merritt said Tuesday they do not plan to call witnesses in the life-or-death penalty phase of Merritt’s trial that started the day after he was convicted of murdering the four-member McStay family of Fallbrook.

    The defense team said it instead planned to appeal to any possible lingering doubts held by the jurors who convicted Merritt in the circumstantial-evidence case.

    The same panel will decide whether to recommend life in prison or death by lethal injection for Merritt. The penalty phase is being heard in the downtown San Bernardino Justice Center courtroom of Judge Michael A. Smith.

    “Our client didn’t do it, they got the wrong guy, they got it wrong, and therefore they should have a lingering doubt about what happened,” co-defense counsel Rajan Maline said outside court. Jurors can consider lingering doubt in making their decision on which penalty to recommend, he said.

    That strategy meant not cross examining the prosecution’s first witness, Susan Blake, the mother of family patriarch Joseph McStay, who on Tuesday tearfully recounted the loss of her son, daughter-in-law, and two small grandsons.

    “The hurt will never go away…you miss their sounds and their laughter, and now I go to a grave site and talk to them. I’ll never, ever be the same. Never.” she said.

    “We don’t disagree with anything that is being said,” Maline said outside court.

    “We agree with the loss, we agree that Joseph was an amazing person…so there would be nothing to talk about, in terms of questioning,” he said.

    Merritt, 62, was convicted Monday for the February 2010 slayings of former business partner Joseph McStay, 40; his wife, Summer, 43; and their two children, Gianni, 4, and Joseph Jr., 3 who had disappeared from their San Diego County home. The family had just moved there from San Clemente.


    Before jurors entered court to hear testimony, defense attorney Joseph McGee told Smith, “We do not have any witnesses or evidence to present as part of our mitigation presentation.” McGee said all parties on the defense team, and Merritt, had entered into a written agreement on the strategy.

    Smith said he would meet with Merritt and his attorneys in private about the change, and court watchers reported he did after Tuesday’s testimony. Maline said the defense will use its opening statement and closing argument to address lingering doubt with the jury.

    Lingering doubt is any remaining doubt a jury has, even if the panel has found someone guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

    “That strategy can seem risky, but sometimes it makes sense,” said Loyola Law School of Los Angeles professor Laurie Levenson. “The downside is that the jury didn’t see doubt when they convicted.”

    But there could be residual doubt to exploit, she said, because the details of the deliberation can’t be known.

    Court resumes at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 18.

    ima.grandma, Akoya, Kimster and 4 others like this.
  9. Freebird

    Freebird Well-Known Member

    McStay Family Murder Trial Defense Objection

    SoSueMe, Akoya, Kimster and 3 others like this.
  10. Cousin Dupree

    Cousin Dupree Platinum Member

    ima.grandma, Freebird, Akoya and 2 others like this.
  11. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Until they die of natural causes. Or murdered in prison. There's a moratorium on the death penalty in California on top of it all.
  12. Kimster

    Kimster Director Staff Member

    Interesting. Never heard of this before.
  13. SoSueMe

    SoSueMe Administrative Manager Staff Member

    I want the DNA found at the grave tested. I also want to know why the prosecution refused to test it. I might accept this verdict better if this were done.
  14. ima.grandma

    ima.grandma Believer of Miracles

    Once you have been convicted of a crime in this state, California criminal law provides both the defense and the prosecution an opportunity to be heard with respect to sentencing.1

    This opportunity is what's known as a sentencing hearing. At a California sentencing hearing, the defense presents mitigating circumstances as to why the punishment and penalties should be minimized. Conversely, the prosecution presents aggravating circumstances to demonstrate why the sentence should be harsh.

    This is just another reason why it is so important to have skilled representation on your side. As former cops and prosecutors, we know the most effective arguments to make to convince judges to go easy on our clients.

    Below, our California criminal defense attorneys2 address the following

    Nolo contendere (or "no contest") plea to at least one criminal charge, OR
    • is convicted of at least one charge by a judge or jury,
    a judge must impose a sentence (also referred to as judgment). But before the judge imposes a sentence, both the defense and prosecution are entitled to an opportunity to be heard as to what they believe is an appropriate penalty.3 This opportunity is what's known in California as a sentencing hearing.

    And because the defendant has already been convicted of the crime, our laws provide for much more "relaxed" rules of evidence that they do during a California jury trial or, for that matter, even during some of the pretrial process.

    When does the sentencing hearing take place?

    The Penal Code regulates when a judge must conduct a California sentencing hearing.

    Misdemeanor sentences must be pronounced not less than six hours nor more than five days after a guilty plea, no contest plea, or conviction unless the defendant waives that timeframe.4

    These times may also be extended due to special circumstances which include

    It is quite common for persons convicted of misdemeanors to receive their sentences immediately following a guilty verdict or guilty / no contest plea.

    Felony sentences must be scheduled within 20 days of the guilty verdict or plea. The court may extend that timeframe by up to ten days for the same reasons listed above.6


    If the sentencing hearing is not held immediately following a guilty plea or guilty verdict, the judge may

    1. keep the defendant in custody (that is, in jail),
    2. order an out-of-custody defendant to go into custody, or
    3. require the defendant to post or remain on bail to assure his/her appearance at the time of sentencing.
    This matter is entirely within the judge's discretion unless it is a misdemeanor case where the defendant has either (1) applied for probation, or (2) filed an appeal.7 In these instances, California bail laws entitle the defendant to be released on bail before the judge actually pronounces the sentence.8

    The defendant does not retain the right to confront or cross-examine witnesses during a sentencing hearing. This includes the lack of a right to cross-examine a probation officer who prepares a probation report for the court, as well as any victims or other people who submit out-of-court statements.14
      1. a Penal Code 1000 PC "deferred entry of judgment",
      2. Proposition 36 diversion, or
      3. any arrests that did not result in a conviction (unless factual information is included, and that information is not presented in a misleading manner).21
    [paste:font size="5"]Santa Ana criminal defense attorney Zachary McCready26 explains, "Illegal consecutive sentences are common, which is simply another reason why having a skilled attorney is so important. He/she not only knows how to distinguish a legal sentence from an illegal one but also knows the most effective ways to convince judges that a concurrent sentence will best serve the interests of justice in any given case."

    Reasons for imposing a selected sentence

    Misdemeanor crimes are typically punishable by up to six-months in a county jail or by up to one year in a county jail. Most felony offenses have three options for imprisonment (for example, two, four, or six years in the California state prison). The judge will consider aggravating and mitigating factors in California felony sentencing to decide whether to impose the "high term," "mid term" or low term."

    This means that a judge exercises quite a bit of discretion when deciding what sentence to impose. As a way to ensure that judges don't abuse this discretion, California law requires that judges state their reasons for choosing a particular sentence.27

    In addition, he/she must also clearly state his/her reasons for doing so.30 Similarly, if a judge is revoking probation based on a California probation violation.and is ordering the defendant to serve a jail or prison sentence.he/she must state the reasons for the revocation.31
    Much more at link: https://www.shouselaw.com/sentencing-hearing.html
  15. guess who

    guess who Bronze Member

    That is one big why for me, too.
  16. ima.grandma

    ima.grandma Believer of Miracles

  17. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    Is there a legal basis where testing of the DNA can be forced?
  18. ima.grandma

    ima.grandma Believer of Miracles

    The rules of discovery determine the circumstances under which a defendant can compel the production of such records. Because many complex technical, scientific, and statistical issues affect the use of DNA evidence, there will be cases in which defendants will contend that without comprehensive and detailed information, they are unable to prepare for trial adequately.

    Although some courts have ordered liberal discovery, providing access to the documentation and information would broaden the scope of discovery in some jurisdictions. Although some courts have ordered liberal discovery with regard to DNA testing,

    Other courts have taken a more restrictive approach. 6 In jurisdictions that interpret their discovery rules as applying only to written reports, the defense cannot obtain discovery of laboratory records if the DNA examiner fails to submit a written report or to incorporate a matter into a report, even if the examiner makes an oral report.7 Our recommendation that all aspects of DNA testing be fully documented is most valuable when this documentation is discoverable in advance of trial.
  19. Freida

    Freida Well-Known Member

    The prosecution witness stated that none of the dna from the family was able to be
    retrieved. The partial samples obtained did not yield any profiles. Yet the defense team at the press conference stated they had three complete sets that they couldn't have tested. They stated that only the PT can have DNA samples run.

    So what gives? This doesn't ring true. Hate to have to go through hours of testimony again.
  20. Akoya

    Akoya Bronze Member

    Dan Kavanaugh has reportedly confessed to murder, being at the graves, raping Summer, and being in the McStay home where he imagined himself married to Summer. The gravesite DNA has not been tested. We are hearing an excuse that the source of information, Tracey Riccobene, is a drug abuser and should not be a valid witness in a murder case. Dan Kavanaugh wasn't questioned because he couldn't be found, yet he had been a court approved witness. Kavanaugh illegally sold Joseph's company and he is reported to have stolen over $200,000 from the company finances. This is a travesty. A man is headed for San Quentin's death row. Is this the best California can do?

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