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Loss of life sentence overturned for California mother who murdered her 4 daughters in hearth


Pictured: Sandi Nieves in 2018

A lady convicted for murdering her 4 younger daughters in a home hearth greater than twenty years in the past has had her demise sentence reversed by the California Supreme Courtroom. 

The court docket overturned Sandi Nieves’ demise sentence on Monday, citing ‘misconduct’ by the trial court docket, however upheld the 57-year-old’s conviction for the 1998 murders.

In a 143-page ruling, the state’s highest court docket mentioned that the late Superior Courtroom Decide L. Jeffrey Wiatt made ‘inappropriately disparaging and sarcastic remarks to protection counsel, impugning his efficiency, chastising him for improper habits and sanctioning and citing him for contempt in entrance of the jury’.

‘The trial decide additionally directed improper feedback and inquiries to witnesses, overtly doubting the credibility of 1 protection professional by asking argumentative and hostile questions and remarking on the chance that one other protection professional ‘simply would not know what he is speaking about,’ Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye wrote within the court docket’s unanimous ruling.

She added: ‘Within the penalty part, the trial decide needlessly reprimanded and belittled a lay witness who testified for the protection.’

The ruling said that: ‘Though we conclude that the court docket’s misconduct couldn’t have altered the jury’s guilt willpower, we’re unable to succeed in that conclusion concerning the penalty trial, thus discovering prejudicial misconduct that requires reversal of the penalty judgment.’ 

Nieves(center, back) is pictured with her four daughters, who died in the fire, and her son, who survived [File photo]

Nieves(heart, again) is pictured together with her 4 daughters, who died within the hearth, and her son, who survived [File photo]

It isn’t clear whether or not the trial’s penalty part is likely to be retried primarily based on the court docket’s ruling.

The Los Angeles County District Legal professional’s Workplace is but to touch upon the ruling however the state’s district legal professional, George Gascon, issued a directive shortly after being sworn into workplace in December saying {that a} demise sentence is ‘by no means an acceptable decision in any case.’

Nieves was convicted of first-degree homicide for the deaths of her daughters Jaqlene Marie Folden, 5, Kristl Daybreak Folden, 7, Rashel Hollie Nieves, 11, and Nikolet Amber Nieves, 12.

The women died from inhaling soot, smoke and carbon monoxide, ABC 7 Los Angeles reported.

Jurors additionally convicted Nieves of the tried homicide of her son, David, in addition to the ‘particular circumstance allegations’ of a number of murders, homicide whereas mendacity in wait and homicide throughout an arson.

She was handed a demise sentence in 2000. 

‘The proof that defendant intentionally set a hearth to kill her household included testimony that she deliberate forward to compel her kids [to] sleep collectively on the kitchen ground, wrote letters indicating that she supposed to kill herself and her kids, drove to the put up workplace to mail her letters, and deliberately poured and lit gasoline all through the home,’ the Supreme Courtroom’s ruling said.

‘It isn’t troublesome to think about the horror a jury may really feel in response to defendant’s actions. Nonetheless, a juror might regard the beautiful enormity of the crime, and the truth that defendant supposed to take her personal life, as an indication of great psychological instability,’ it mentioned.

‘Absent the trial decide’s persistent, disparaging remarks, a juror may need seen these circumstances with higher sympathy and concluded the crime was a tragedy missing the ethical culpability to warrant demise. 

California's Supreme Court overturned Sandi Nieves' death sentence on Monday, citing 'misconduct' by the trial court, but upheld the 57-year-old's conviction for the 1998 murders of her four young daughters. Pictured: The headquarters of the Supreme Court of California [File photo]

California’s Supreme Courtroom overturned Sandi Nieves’ demise sentence on Monday, citing ‘misconduct’ by the trial court docket, however upheld the 57-year-old’s conviction for the 1998 murders of her 4 younger daughters. Pictured: The headquarters of the Supreme Courtroom of California [File photo]

‘A juror may also have given higher weight to defendant’s regret and proof she had been a loving mom to conclude that life in jail, confronted every day with what she had carried out to her kids, was a becoming punishment.’

Amitai Schwartz, Nieves’ appellate lawyer, mentioned throughout a Supreme Courtroom listening to in February that his consumer didn’t get a good trial.

He mentioned that the trial court docket had ‘aligned itself with the prosecution’ and ‘assisted with the prosecution’. 

‘It denigrated the protection, it denigrated the protection counsel, it humiliated the defendant,’ Schwartz mentioned, including that the decide ‘misplaced management of himself.’ 

Deputy Legal professional Basic Kristen Inberg advised the Supreme Courtroom there had been ‘no misconduct’ on the trial and mentioned the decide’s actions in direction of the defendant’s trial legal professional had been as a result of the legal professional ‘persistently flouted’ the court docket’s guidelines.

Inberg urged the panel to uphold Nieves’ conviction and demise sentence mentioned that ‘proof of appellant’s guilt was simply too robust to have any of those [the judge’s] feedback affect the jury.’  



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