(Reuters) – The California Supreme Court docket on Thursday overturned the dying penalty conviction of an avowed white supremacist, saying the prosecutor cited inflammatory proof to sway the jury, such because the defendant’s neo-Nazi tattoos, courtroom information confirmed.
The courtroom dominated unanimously to spare the lifetime of Jeffrey Scott Younger of San Diego, convicted over the killing of two parking zone staff throughout a theft close to the town’s worldwide airport in 1999, media stated.
“The Structure…protects even deeply offensive and hateful beliefs,” Justice Leondra R. Kruger of the state supreme courtroom stated within the 76-page judgment, posted on-line by the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
Throughout trial closing arguments, the prosecutor targeted on the truth that Younger had racist and Nazi tattoos, the courtroom stated.
Kruger, who wrote the choice for the courtroom, stated the first Modification of the U.S. Structure defending free speech doesn’t allow the prosecution to ask a jury to return a selected verdict as a result of a defendant holds offensive beliefs.
The courtroom ordered a brand new trial for Younger, who was convicted of two first-degree murders and an tried homicide and a carjacking, to think about if he ought to go to the dying chamber or have his sentence lowered to life with out parole.
“We affirm the judgment as to guilt, reverse the judgment as to the sentence of dying, and remand the matter for a brand new penalty dedication,” Kruger wrote on behalf of the panel of seven judges.
Reporting by Wealthy McKay; Enhancing by Clarence Fernandez