Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Human Trafficking Conviction



Defendant Aaron Vaughn
 
On June 4th, 2018, patrol officers with the San Bernardino Police Department responded to the area  known for a high volume of prostitution activity in the City of San Bernardino for a report of a young female possibly engaging in prostitution. Upon arrival, officers located the 17-year-old victim, Jane Doe, who was a runaway from the Oakland area.  The San Bernardino County Human Trafficking Task Force responded and assumed the investigation.  During the interview with Jane Doe, it was found that she came to San Bernardino to work as a prostitute with two males, Defendant Victor Wilkins and Defendant Aaron Vaughn, as well as an adult female, Victim 2. Task force members responded to a local motel and attempted to make contact with the two males. Officers forced entry into Defendant Wilkins motel room due to Wilkins barricading himself in his room and refusing to open the door. Officers located Defendant Vaughn without incident in another room at the same motel. It was found that both defendants had prior convictions relating to pimping and human trafficking. Vaughn was found to actively be on federal parole for Sex Trafficking of Children and had just been released from prison in February 2018.


Defendant Victor Wilkins
During the course of the investigation, it was found that Wilkins had met the minor victim through social media. After exchanging messages online for a period of time,  Defendant Wilkins picked up Jane Doe and Victim 2 on International Blvd in the City of Oakland, which is an area known for a high volume of prostitution activity.  He took both females to work as prostitutes in the City of San Francisco. They returned to the Oakland area to meet with Wilkins friend and “Pimp Partner,” Defendant Vaughn.  At that point, Victim 2  began working as a prostitute for Vaughn.  The defendants then drove the victims to the Los Angeles area where both girls worked as prostitutes.  After two days, the defendants drove the victims to San Bernardino where they were sent out to the street to work as prostitutes again.

During an analysis of the digital data from the defendant’s cell phones and social media, it was found that Wilkins and Vaughn were heavily involved in the “pimping” lifestyle. It was also determined that both Defendants were involved in pimping, pandering, and the human trafficking of multiple victims. Defendant Wilkins was found connected to Victim 3 and Victim 4, both adult females, whom he had previously transported to San Bernardino for the purposes of the victim to engage in prostitution.
The defendants were charged with human trafficking, pimping and pandering of a minor as to Jane Doe as well as pimping and pandering of Victim 2. Defendant Wilkins was also charged with attempted pimping and pandering of Victims 3 and 4.
At trial, the minor victim, Jane Doe, was the only victim of the four who appeared and testified against the defendants. Defendant Wilkins testified on his own behalf claiming he was a “rap artist” and not a pimp. The jury deliberated for approximately 6 hours and returned verdicts of guilt on all 12 counts and Vaughn’s prior human trafficking conviction allegation to be true.

 
Great job to Deputy District Attorney Cassie Helmuth of our West Valley Division! 
Thank you for your hard work!





 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Peer Support Team

Did you know that you work for the only District Attorney’s Office in the state that has a multi-disciplinary peer support team that includes members of every division and serves the entire office?  It’s true!  While many law enforcement, firefighter and first responder organizations have peer support programs, we are the only District Attorney’s office that has a fully trained and structured program that involves more than law enforcement members only. 

The SBDA’s office has recognized the value of providing a way for their employees and their family members to deal with personal and/or professional problems.  A successful approach has been to provide a program that offers a peer component that is mutually convenient for the supporter and peer, in addition to Employee Assistance resources.  A peer support volunteer is a fellow co-worker who is trained and available to listen to someone in need and can refer you to the appropriate outside resources if needed.  When something is going on in your life that is negatively impacting your work performance, family or self, a peer supporter may offer that assistance by just listening and giving appropriate support.  The content of the assistance is confidential providing it does not violate any law or office policy.  Peer supporters are not counselors, mental health professionals or chaplains.  They are every day, regular folks who have committed to ongoing training and volunteer time to help their co-workers. 
 
Your Peer Support team is here for you!  Look for when we host our events, such as the upcoming “Wellness in the Workplace” lunchtime training.  Past events have included sharing information over Root “Peer” Floats, Holiday Cookies & Cocoa, Ice Cream Socials and providing information for new DDA training.   Our jobs are critical to public safety and can get stressful at times.  Everyone benefits from having healthy, supported co-workers in a safe and professional environment.  As a member of the office, you have access to peer supporters within the office AND to the office employee assistance program, provided by The Counseling Team International.  This is free is and includes a 24/7 crisis hotline for you and your family.  TCTI provide confidential behavioral health and wellness services. 
 
Don’t want to talk to anyone in the office?  No problem!  You can call TCTI directly at 855-733-7855.  They offer counseling for a variety of life’s issues, such as relationships, finances, depression, suicide, grief, job stress or substance abuse.   TCTI works with hundreds of law enforcement agencies across the country and has well trained, professional staff that understand the demands of working in public safety. 
 
Check out Peer Services on the DA Starnet, Useful Links – click Peer Support.  We have a transparent set of guidelines for supporters and all staff.  Look for our posters and contact cards in the break rooms.  Starnet has a list of resources you can access directly.  If you are interested in becoming a peer supporter (our team is currently full but we do maintain a wait/interest list with Melissa Murray) or have suggestions for training and services, please contact Team Coordinators Christine Murillo, Flerida Alarcon or Mary Ashley.
 
If you or someone you know is in immediate crisis, please consider calling 909- 884-0133 or (800) 733-7855.  Help is available and you are NEVER ALONE. 

Monday, July 1, 2019

Jury Recommends Death in People v. Charles Merritt


On November 11, 2013, the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department was notified of possible human remains in a desert area of Victorville, California.  The next day, Sheriff Department Homicide detail, along with the Coroner investigators, began excavating the graves and found the remains of four individuals, later identified as the McStay family: Joseph McStay, Summer McStay, and children Gianni McStay, and Joseph “Chubba” McStay Jr.  Coroner examination of the bodies revealed that each member of the family was killed by blunt force trauma to the head.   

The family was reported missing from their Fallbrook home in San Diego County on February 15, 2010.  A business associate of Joseph McStay, eventual defendant Charles Merritt, was interviewed by police two days later.  He spoke of the family in the past tense several times and told them he did not care for Summer.  San Diego County investigators learned the McStay family’s Isuzu Trooper truck was towed from a lot in San Ysidro on February 8, 2010.  DNA swabs were collected into evidence from the vehicle.  The samples were taken from the steering wheel, gear shifter, and control panel of the vehicle.  The samples were compared and matched the defendant’s DNA. 

 During the time period of the disappearance, the defendant’s cell phone was turned off.  Two days after the disappearance, however, the defendant’s cell phone signal was received by a cell phone tower in the desert area of Victorville.  The cell phone tower was located near the gravesite where the bodies would eventually be discovered.


Additionally, investigators learned of a business relationship Joseph McStay had with the defendant in the case.  McStay hired Merritt as a designer and builder of custom water fountains for his business.  It was later revealed that McStay loaned the defendant $30,000 to pay off a gambling debt.  A few days prior to the disappearance of the family, the defendant began writing and forging checks from McStay’s Quickbook checking accounts.  Merritt also wrote checks to himself after the disappearance but backdated them to the date of their last meeting. 


With this and additional evidence, Merritt was arrested for the murder of all four McStay family members.  The trial began in October of 2018 and was tried by veteran San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office prosecutors Sean Daugherty, Britt Imes, and Melissa Rodriguez.  After months of trial, the jury returned a verdict of guilty of first degree murder on all counts, and on June 24th, 2019, agreed to impose the death penalty for three of the four counts of murder.

A great job by Sean, Britt, Melissa, and the entire law enforcement team that worked on the investigation and prosecution of this case for the better part of a decade.  Justice for the McStay family was achieved in this matter!







Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Annual Bureau of Investigation Scholarship Presentation and Employee Recognition Ceremony

On June 19th, the Investigators’ Association proudly sponsored the Annual Bureau of Investigation Scholarship Presentation and Employee Recognition Ceremony.  

Scholarships:
Since 2000, the Investigators’ Association has provided over $12,000 in scholarship money to the immediate families of the association members.  This year, two scholarship recipients received $500 each.  The Association hopes to continue this tradition in giving back to the members for years to come.
Service Pins and Investigations Recognition:     Congratulations to all persons who were recognized for years of service and/or their dedication to providing quality investigative services.
Past Board Recognitions:
Duties of the association board is ancillary to their regular assignments and the association would be non-existent without the willingness to volunteer.  Thank you to the past board members for your willingness to volunteer!
Association Mission:
The Mission of the Association is; “to promote a better working environment and togetherness among the membership.”  The mission is upheld through hosting events such as this and supporting future events that bring our office together.
Again, congratulations to the scholarship recipients and to all those recognized for your hard work and dedication!   
As a reminder, our Office Barbeque will be held at Yucaipa Regional Park on September 14th.  Bring the family and enjoy the festivities.  RSVP by August 30th.
 




Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Special Olympics Torch Run

 

Several members of our office recently participated in the Special Olympics Torch Run. The Torch Run program began in 1981, when Wichita, Kansas Chief of Police Richard Lamunyon saw an urgent need to raise funds and increase awareness for Special Olympics. The idea of the Law Enforcement Torch Run program was to provide local law enforcement officers with opportunities to volunteer with Special Olympics in communities where the officers lived and worked.

In 1984, the International Association of Chiefs of Police endorsed Special Olympics as official charity through the Torch Run Program. With the IACP’s enthusiastic support and leadership, the Torch Run soon involved all facets of the law enforcement community. Today all 50 states and more than 35 countries have Torch Run programs.  The Torch Run is Special Olympics' largest grass-roots fundraiser.  Law Enforcement and athletes,
 
The Law Enforcement Torch Run (LETR) is Special Olympics’ largest grass-roots fundraiser and public awareness vehicle.  Law enforcement (the Guardians of the Flame) and athletes, run the Special Olympics “Flame of Hope” to events and competitions throughout the state to symbolize unity and inclusiveness.

Also Known as Guardians of the Flame, law enforcement members and Special Olympics athletes carry the “Flame of Hope” into Opening Ceremonies of local competitions. They also carry it into Special Olympics State, Provincial, National, Regional and World Games. There are over 97,000 law enforcement members that carry the “Flame of Hope” annually.
 
The Torch Run has grown over the years and now includes many fundraising platforms.  These platforms include:  Plane Pulls, Polar Plunges, Tip-A-Cops and more.  Since the beginning, LETR has raised over $600 million for Special Olympics programs. To learn more about LETR, visit www.letr.org
  

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Family Violence Unit Guilty Verdict

Julio Cesar Serrano, a parolee on an ankle monitor for serious felony convictions, was out of prison for only ten months before he murdered his girlfriend Martha Garcia.  Serrano met Martha at their workplace, and after a few months of dating, he discovered that she was married, and kicked her out of the trailer where they were living.  Despite telling his parole agent in the weeks before the murder that he was angry with Martha and worried that something might happen, and after being advised to stay away from her, Serrano kept seeing Martha.  The night before the murder, Serrano had Martha pick him up from his family’s home in Los Angeles and drive them back to their trailer in San Bernardino.  On the morning of the murder, Serrano brutally beat Martha, causing black eyes, a head injury, and knocking out her front teeth. He then stabbed Martha with a 12” knife over ten times before ultimately lodging the knife in her throat.  Martha died as a result.

At trial, the pathologist testified to each of the defensive wounds that Martha sustained, explaining how she fought back throughout the attack, despite having a collapsed lung.  Defendant then covered her body with a comforter, showered, and drove Martha’s car back to his family’s home in Los Angeles. There, he told his sister “I hurt Martha real bad.”  He said he was suicidal, and asked to go to the hospital, where physicians attended to the knife wound to his hand and an injured ankle.  At the hospital he admitted to law enforcement what he’d done, and just as he was about to be taken to the station, for the first time mentioned that “the voices made me do it.” 
Accordingly, Serrano entered pleas of Not Guilty and Not Guilty by Reason of Insanity, resulting in a two-phase trial.  The jury first returned a verdict of 1st degree murder during the guilt phase.  In the sanity phase, three experts testified regarding Defendant’s documented history of mental illness and their opinion regarding his mental state at the time of the killing.  The defense called one retained defense expert as well as a court-appointed expert who opined that Serrano was insane at the time of the killing.  Another court appointed psychologist testified for the People opining that while Serrano suffered from an unspecified mental illness, he had been sane at the time he killed Martha.  Serrano opted not to take the stand to testify on his own behalf.  The jury returned a quick verdict finding the defendant sane at the time of the murder.  
The case was prosecuted by San Bernardino DDA Jennifer Carrillo.  The verdict would not have been made possible without the help of the San Bernardino Police Department and investigating officer Detective Joshua Cunningham, as well as DA Investigator Amanda Holloway, Victim Advocate Claudia Coronado, and Investigative Technician Andrea Singleton. 

Monday, May 20, 2019

Hardcore Gang Unit Guilty Verdict


A jury returned a quick guilty verdict in a murder that was solved by the No Boundaries task force. The No Boundaries task force, comprised of Sheriff, San Bernardino PD, ATF, Probation and the FBI, focused on the most violent elements of the California Garden Crips in an effort to stem high murder rates in 2016 in San Bernardino.  The defendant, Dayvion Jones,  was an enforcer for the California Garden Crips. 
 
The victim, Shonta Edwards, was outside a known blood territory smoking a cigarette, wearing red shorts, when the defendant and a codefendant approached him and asked him for a cigarette. The defendant, Dayvion Jones, believed the victim was a rival gang member.  After giving him a cigarette, Dayvion Jones pulled out a .45 caliber handgun and shot Edwards to death, leaving fired casings all over the crime scene.  Soon after, the Task Force intercepted a phone call where the defendant was heard talking about having a .45 caliber gun.  The defendant was stopped that day by SBPD and the gun was found under his seat.  The defendant admitted the gun was his, a .45 1911 style automatic. Ballistics linked the fired rounds to this gun.  Recovered Snap Chat video also showed the defendant with the gun immediately before the traffic stop.  Social media posts, eyewitnesses, an informant and intercepted calls all proved that the defendant killed the victim.
 
The jury returned verdicts of guilt on first degree murder, gun allegations and the gang enhancement. The defendant is looking at 50 years to life. The case was prosecuted by the Central Division’s Hardcore Gang Unit, DDA Lloyd Masson.  

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Take Your Child To Work Day

 
National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day is recognized on the fourth Thursday in April each year.  this annual event is an educational program in the United States and Canada where parents take their children to work with them for one day.  It is the successor to Take Our Daughters to Work Day which, in 2003, was expanded to include boys.  Most companies allowed both girls and boys to participate since the beginning.  The day was renamed "Take Your Child to Work Day." 
 
This year, our Central Division hosted 30 boys and girls who participated in several activities throughout the day.  We started the day off with a presentation from the Bureau of Information Technology team about the parts of a computer tower.  The kids listened intently while munching on donuts and had a quiz afterward. 
 
Next, everyone gathered outside for a demonstration by the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department bomb dog, "Wolf", and his handler, Detective Brad Phillips.  Detective Phillips hid a metal device containing all of the ingredients for a live bomb, with the exception of the igniting mechanism.  Wolf sniffed out the device, sat down, and was given a "treat" of a red ball. 
 
The kids then saw an undercover police car. Senior Investigator Amanda Holloway turned on the lights and sounded the siren for the kids while Veronica Parham opened the trunk and explained the necessity of the safety equipment.  The kids also got to see a Mini-14 rifle. 
 

The day continued with a trip to the San Bernardino Justice Center.  The kids observed a preliminary hearing and toured a courtroom and its holding cells.  The group returned back to the media room where Supervising Investigator John Vega gave a presentation on the collection of crime scene evidence.  The kids asked a lot of great questions and really enjoyed looking at the "mock crime scene."  Supervising Investigator Christine Murillo gave a lesson on how to roll fingerprints and fingerprinted each of the kids. 
 
By this time the kids had all worked up a hunger and were able to spend the lunch hour with their parents.  
 
After lunch, the children met with District Attorney Jason Anderson.  He explained the many functions of the Court and District Attorney's Office.   The children once again asked many great questions, including what the DA's favorite color is.  In case you are wondering, it is dark blue or black. 
 
Finally, Senior Investigator Mark Anderson gave a very informative and fun presentation on the dangers of social media and cell phones.  The kids were sent back with their parents along with a goodie bag and cupcake to finish out the day with them. 
 
Thank you to all the parents for sharing your children with us.  A great big thank you to BIT, B of I, SBSD and Court personnel who assisted with demonstrations.  A special thank you to Tera Sorensen, Kimberly Fuller, Melissa Murray, Denise Yoakum, Malina Medina and Jessica Planas for chaperoning the event.  It was a fun filled day for everyone.  The children learned a lot and have many memories they won't soon forget.  
 




Friday, April 19, 2019

National Crime Victims' Rights Week





















Every year in April, the office for Victims of Crime leads communities across the country in observance of National Crime Victims' Rights Week.  The theme for 2019, "Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope For the Future." celebrates the progress made by those before us as we look to a future of crime victim services that is even more inclusive, accessible and trauma-informed. 

 
During National Crime Victims' Rights Week, the District Attorney's Office hosted a memorial at the Government Center to honor those family members who have lost a loved one as well as the surviving victims of crime and those that advocate on behalf of crime victims. 

This year, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors unanimously consented to and adopted a proclamation regarding National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. Below is an excerpt:
 
NOW, THEREFORE, We, the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors, do hereby proclaim the week of April 7-13, 2019, as Crime Victims’ Rights Week
 
AND REAFFIRM this San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office commitment to creating a victim service and criminal justice response that assists all victims of crime during Crime Victims’ Rights Week and throughout the year; and to express our sincere gratitude and appreciation for those community members, victim service providers, and criminal justice professionals who are committed to improving our response to all victims of crime so that they may find relevant assistance, support, justice, and peace.
  





 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Thursday, April 11, 2019

2019 Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay

 
 
 
On March 23, 2019, several members of our office participated in the annual Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup Relay race. The Baker to Vegas run is where police organizations from all over the world form relay teams to run 120 miles in 20 stages from Baker, California to Las Vegas, Nevada for the chance of winning the coveted cup trophy.
 
The relay was started by two Los Angeles police officers, Chuck Foote and Larry Moore, 30 years ago. 284 law enforcement teams participated in the event this year.

This race begins in Baker and goes through  Pahrump via Highway 372 and then follows Highway 160 into Las Vegas. This year, the race ended inside the Westgate hotel in Las Vegas.

The teams are made up entirely of law enforcement personnel and each team consists of 20 runners. The distance and difficulty for each team member varies. Some are selected to run 3-4 mile legs, on a flat surface, while others will run 8 to 10-mile legs, uphill or downhill.
   
The San Bernardino County District Attorney’s office was team #278. Participation in the relay is on a volunteer basis. Many volunteers are needed for a variety of functions to ensure the event is a successful one.  Runners are needed as well as observers, driving a follow vehicle and assisting in the hospitality suite at the hotel. 

A huge thank you to Supervising Investigator Eric Von Miller and Senior Investigator Ray Briones who were the team Captains. They were instrumental in the organization and our participation in Baker to Vegas. Thank you to all the runners, drivers, observers and folks who worked in the hospitality suite who volunteered their time and helped pull off a successful event.
 
For those of you interested, next year’s Baker to Vegas will be April 4th and 5th, 2020, at the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. Mark your calendars!



 

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

DA Anderson Response to Governor Newsom's Moratorium


In 1776, Founding Father Thomas Paine wrote of the supremacy of law over the whims of individuals in a free society.  We have come to think of the rule of law as the utmost of guiding principles in shaping a just government for all.  That rule of law, and the balance it creates through our three branches of government, gives the people the final voice of authority in determining the laws by which we all must live. 
 
Article II, Section I, of the California Constitution states, "All political power is inherent in the people.  Government is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require."  Article V, Section I states, "The supreme executive power of this State is vested in the Governor.  The Governor shall see that the law is faithfully executed." 
 
There have been at least four times in the recent history of California when the people of California could have voted to abolish the death penalty through the initiative process.  They did not.  Proposition 17 and Proposition 66, each passed by the people, authorized the death penalty in California.  Propositions 34 and 62, both attempts to abolish the death penalty, were defeated.  Additionally, three California Supreme Court justices were removed by the people of California because of the justices' categorical opposition to the rule of law in California as it related to the death penalty.
 
The San Bernardino County District Attorney's Office opposes Governor Gavin Newsom's announced moratorium on California's death penalty.  We are certain that the governor is fundamentally and fervently opposed to the death penalty.  That is his right.  Despite his personal beliefs, Governor Newsom has a duty to uphold the law, including California's death penalty statutes which voters have upheld since at least 1978.  
 
The problem with the moratorium is that the people in California have made a reasonable and analytical case in favor of the death penalty and the death penalty is the law in California.  The rule of law gives the people notice, consistency, and reliance upon that which we can and cannot do in society.  The rule of law provides expectations, due process and finality when it comes to our justice system.  
 
The people who rely upon the rule of law includes the families and loved ones of murder victims.  They have relied upon a death sentence imposed by jurors in a criminal case.  To them, the rule of law becomes meaningless when a unilateral decision by the governor removes that which the families have relied upon for decades for closure and some measure of justice.  
 
We are certain that the families of Christopher Hughes, and Douglas, Peggy and Jessica Ryen, which includes surviving victim Josh Ryen, who survived the massacre, all murdered by death row inmate Kevin Cooper, fundamentally and fervently believe in the death penalty.  It remains the one precept to which they can still point in the belief that, as it remains the law repeatedly upheld by the people of California, a just outcome might be reached after decades of due process.  They and countless other victims' family members have waited for decades through the extensive review process these cases receive from the State and Federal Courts.  Unfortunately, the Hughes and Ryen families' faith in the law, as well as the faith of the numerous families victimized by the 734 other killers on death row, is only eroded when they find out about the moratorium from a radio news station and not from the Governor's Office.  
 
The governor's fiat on the death penalty does not respect the initiative decisions of the people of California or the rule of law.  We all, prosecutors, victims, law enforcement, defense attorneys and defendants, rely upon that rule of law to give notice, meaning and justice to our society.  That is why our office opposes the moratorium.               
  

Governor Gavin Newsom Orders a Halt to the Death Penalty in California

Published:
Kelly M. Grow / California Department of Water Resources

Executive order declares a moratorium on executions of California’s 737 inmates on death row
 Governor Newsom also orders a withdrawal of California’s lethal injection protocol and calls for the immediate closure of the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison
 The order does not provide for the release of any individual from prison or otherwise alter any current conviction or sentence
SACRAMENTO –- Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order today placing a moratorium on the death penalty in California. The executive order also calls for withdrawing California’s lethal injection protocols and immediately closing the execution chamber at San Quentin State Prison. The order does not provide for the release of any individual from prison or otherwise alter any current conviction or sentence.
“The intentional killing of another person is wrong and as Governor, I will not oversee the execution of any individual,” said Governor Newsom. “Our death penalty system has been, by all measures, a failure. It has discriminated against defendants who are mentally ill, black and brown, or can’t afford expensive legal representation. It has provided no public safety benefit or value as a deterrent. It has wasted billions of taxpayer dollars. Most of all, the death penalty is absolute. It’s irreversible and irreparable in the event of human error.”
There are 737 people currently on death row in California. California has the largest death row population in the Western Hemisphere — one in four people on death row in the United States are in California.
The death penalty is unevenly and unfairly applied to people of color, people with mental disabilities, and people who cannot afford costly legal representation. More than six in ten people on California’s death row are people of color. A 2005 study found that those convicted of killing whites were more than three times as likely to be sentenced to death as those convicted of killing blacks and more than four times as likely as those convicted of killing Latinos. At least 18 of the 25 people executed in the U.S. in 2018 had one or more of the following impairments: significant evidence of mental illness; evidence of brain injury, developmental brain damage, or an IQ in the intellectually disabled range; chronic serious childhood trauma, neglect, and/or abuse.
Innocent people have been sentenced to death in California. Since 1973, 164 condemned prisoners nationwide, including five in California, have been freed from death row after they were found to have been wrongfully convicted. No person has been executed since 2006 because California’s execution protocols have not been lawful. Yet today, 25 California death row inmates have exhausted all of their state and federal appeals and could be eligible for an execution date.
Since 1978, California has spent $5 billion on a death penalty system that has executed 13 people. Three states — Oregon, Colorado and Pennsylvania — have Governor-imposed moratoria on the death penalty and in 2018, the Washington State Supreme Court struck down the death penalty as unconstitutional and “racially biased.”