Trial Archives

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Wild About Wild
 
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n this June 6, 2013 photo provided by the Missouri Department of Corrections is Maria Isa. Prison officials said that Isa died Wednesday, April 30, 2014 of apparent natural causes at a prison in Vandalia, Mo. The 70-year-old was serving a life sentence for the 1989 slaying of her teenage daughter in a crime that was chillingly captured on an FBI surveillance tape and apparently prompted by the girl’s resistance to the family’s Islamic traditions. (AP Photo/Missouri Department of Corrections)
Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens prepares to testify on the ever-increasing amount of money spent on elections as he appears before the Senate Rules Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. The panel is examining campaign finance rules which have been eased since 2010 court decisions opened the door for wealthy political action committees that can accept unlimited donations as expressions of political speech. (AP Photo)
Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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Apple attorney Rachel Krevans, right, walks with others to a federal courthouse in San Jose, Calif., Tuesday, April 29, 2014. The Silicon Valley court battle between Apple and Samsung is entering its final phase. Lawyers for both companies are expected to deliver closing arguments Tuesday before jurors are sent behind closed doors to determine a verdict in a closely watched trial over the ownership of smartphone technology. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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In this Sept. 28, 1994 photo, Ronald Herron, 12, stands in the doorway of the Gowanus Houses in New York. Now 32 and sometimes known as the Rapper “Ra Diggs,” Herndon is accused by prosecutors as the ruthless leader of a violent drug gang, and faces a federal murder trial in New York. The government and defense are locked in a debate whether Herndon’s music and videos are evidence of real crimes committed by one of the city's highest ranking Bloods or are constitutionally protected, and inadmissible, expressions of free speech that his lawyers have likened to Johnny Cash's "Folsom Prison Blues." (AP Photo/Steve Berman)
Lights, Camera, Arrest
 
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Athletes Behaving Badly
 
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Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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Athletes Behaving Badly
 
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Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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In this image released by Mexico's Attorney General's Office, Saturday, Feb. 22, 2014, Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman is photographed against a wall after his arrest in the Pacific resort city of Mazatlan, Mexico. After 13 years on the run, narrow escapes from the military, law enforcement and rivals, Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman is back in Mexican custody. Now starts what is likely to be a lengthy and complicated legal process to decide which country gets to try him first. (AP Photo/PGR)
Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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Gerald Uden and Alice Uden of Mo. were charged with committing separate murders decades ago.
Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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SANTA ANA, California (AP) — A former tugboat captain's decision to plead guilty to killing his ex-wife and seven others hasn't won him any offer of leniency from prosecutors, who still want to see Scott Dekraai put to death for a shooting that terrorized a sleepy Southern California beach community three years ago.

But Dekraai's decision, announced Monday by his attorney, could win him sympathy from the people he really needs — the jurors who will decide whether he should be executed or sentenced to life in prison.

Before defense lawyer Scott Sanders told an Orange County court Monday that his client is willing to plead guilty, Dekraai had offered to admit to the crimes in exchange for multiple life sentences. Prosecutors wouldn't budge from their decision to seek his execution.

Dekraai, who was scheduled to go to trial June 9, is now scheduled to enter his plea on Friday.

Dekraai, 44, had been locked in a custody dispute with his ex-wife over their-8-year-old son before he strapped on a bulletproof vest, took three guns and stormed into Salon Meritage in 2011, police said.

He is accused of shooting his ex-wife, a hairdresser, before killing the Seal Beach salon's owner and six others.

Eight people were shot inside the salon, and all but one died. A man sitting in his car in the parking lot was also gunned down.

Police stopped Dekraai just minutes after the shooting and they said he told them, "I know what I did."

By agreeing to plead guilty, former federal prosecutor Lawrence Rosenthal says Dekraai is taking a calculated risk that jurors may go easy on him for owning up to his crimes.

"This is the kind of tactical judgment that defense lawyers make all the time," said Rosenthal, a law professor at Chapman University.

Often, he said, attorneys worry that jurors will lose faith in the defense team after they've issued a guilty verdict. They also worry that jurors may become irritated after sitting through a trial, returning a guilty verdict and then learning they have to sit through the trial's penalty phase and render another verdict.

Sanders said Dekraai decided to plead guilty to give the victims' families certainty that he will never be released from prison and to spare them a lengthy case.

"He felt he needs to give the victims at least the sense he's not seeking to have this go on forever," Sanders told reporters.

His attorney still wants to have the death penalty tossed and for the district attorney's office to recuse itself from the case because of recordings made by a fellow inmate that prosecutors characterized as Dekraai bragging about the killings.

Prosecutors agreed last week to drop efforts to use the recordings in court, but are continuing to press for the death penalty.

"Nothing has changed," prosecutor Scott Simmons told reporters outside court. "We've said from the get go this is a death penalty case, and we're continuing on with the penalty phase after his plea of guilty."

The salon reopened about a year after the shootings that rocked usually peaceful Seal Beach. Six of the original employees, including the owner's widow, returned to work.

For more than two years, relatives of the victims have trekked to the Orange County courthouse in Santa Ana for hearings.

Paul Caoette of Costa Mesa, whose father David was gunned down as he sat in his car outside the salon, welcomed the idea of a plea.

"I think he should admit his guilt," Caouette said. "Every single thing he has done is cowardly.

"We're a capital punishment state. If anybody deserves the death penalty, it's Dekraai."
Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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This image released by ABC shows Columbus Short portraying Harrison Wright in a scene from the TV series, "Scandal." The 31-year-old actor says in a statement on Friday, April 25, 2014, he's exiting the ABC political thriller after three seasons. (AP Photo/ABC, Eric McCandless)
Lights, Camera, Arrest
 
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Bahraini anti-government protesters throw a tear gas canister back toward the police that fired it, after a mourning procession for two teenagers in Meqsha, Bahrain, Friday, April 25, 2014. Authorities said Ahmed al-Mesgen, 16, and Ali Abbas, 18, were killed earlier this week when a bomb exploded in their car. Both youths reportedly had been wanted by the police in connection with the uprising in the Gulf island kingdom. (AP Photo/Hasan Jamali)
International Justice Watch
 
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Criminal & Civil Justice News
 
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Athletes Behaving Badly
 
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