Wednesday, January 28, 2015
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

State seeks to block release of Solano death-row inmate

By
From page A3 | February 15, 2014 |

FAIRFIELD — A former Vanden High School sports great who has been on death row at San Quentin prison for 25 years is still locked up four months after a federal judge in Sacramento ordered him to be released or receive a new murder trial.

The California Attorney General’s Office is appealing the ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal. The Attorney General’s Office on Thursday filed a brief of more than 1,000 pages detailing why the state believes the order should be overturned.

Steven E. Crittenden was sentenced to death in 1989, three years after he helped propel the Vanden Vikings boys’ basketball team to a state championship.

Crittenden, now 46, was a freshman on a football scholarship at California State University, Chico, in Butte County when he tortured and slaughtered an elderly couple in their home in early 1987.

Joseph and Katherine Chiapella had both been bound, gagged, beaten and stabbed to death in their Chico home. The day after their killings, Crittenden, who had done yard work for the couple, cashed a $3,000 check signed by Katherine Chiapella.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller ruled in September 2013 that Crittenden deserved his freedom or a new trial because the prosecutor at his jury trial had likely been motivated by racism when he dismissed the only African-American prospective juror on the panel during a months-long jury selection process. Crittenden is also African-American.

Crittenden’s release has been blocked by a court-ordered stay of Mueller’s order. The stay is currently set to lapse Feb. 27, two weeks before Crittenden’s lawyers are expected to respond to the brief from the Attorney General’s Office.

During Crittenden’s jury trial, Vanden basketball coaches and a former teammate testified about how sportsmanlike, polite and respectful he had been when he played for the Vikings.

The California Supreme Court upheld Crittenden’s conviction and the death penalty in 1994. Crittenden’s lawyers got a federal judge to order a hearing in 2000 to review issues about the trial. It wasn’t until 2005 that the federal district court turned down all of Crittenden’s legal claims. His lawyers appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which heard arguments six years ago in 2007 in Crittenden’s appeal that resulted in Mueller conducting the hearing that preceded her ruling.

“. . . (A)t the time of (the prosecutor’s) rating of jurors after voir dire and the time of his actually striking (the juror), (the prosecutor) was motivated, consciously or unconsciously, in substantial part by race,” Mueller wrote.
The Attorney General’s Office argues that Mueller has no legal authority to free Crittenden based upon the existence of unconscious bias in a prosecutor and that the prosecutor’s intent has been lost in the detailed parsing of every possible aspect of the voluminous record. Mueller focused too heavily on details instead of looking at the totality of the circumstances in dismissing the juror, the attorney general argues.
The prosecutor claimed he removed the juror from the jury panel because of her negative views on the death penalty.

Reach Jess Sullivan at 427-6919 or jsullivan@dailyrepublic.net. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/jsullivandr.

Jess Sullivan

Jess has covered the criminal justice system in Solano County for several years. He was an embedded reporter in Iraq in 2003.
LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 6 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • MattFebruary 15, 2014 - 6:28 am

    People are so stupid. "Let's get this guy a new trial, I'm sure his innocent we just need to bring race into it to prove it."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • The MisterFebruary 15, 2014 - 7:35 am

    "My baby wouldn't do that! Everybody know police don't like Black people."

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • ArtimusFebruary 15, 2014 - 11:48 pm

    You are a narrow minded fool; I am surprised that you comment does not get sensors.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JazzAzzFebruary 15, 2014 - 7:56 am

    UnFreakinBelievable >>> Sentenced to death in 1989, 25 yrs. ago????!!!!. Now this problem would have already been solved if his sentence had been carried out in a timely fashion. Where is someone with a SHIV in that prison, when society needs him??? This is a perfect example why people need to take justice into our own hands, not being able to trust the justice system, IF HE GOES FREE or is even given another trial!!!!! Why we need, in some cases vigilante justice!!!!!!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • S KFebruary 15, 2014 - 8:03 am

    For sure Jazz. If you are down on your luck (Not advocating harming anyone), just commit some heinous capital offense crime, since a death sentence in Calif. will get you free room and board, medical AND dental, for the rest of your life (Not to mention stylish free clothing too), since no one ever gets put to death in Calif's death row anymore. What a deal. Now don't you dare slip up and commit such a crime in either Texas or Florida, because in those states they know how to carry out justice, hold a prep responsible.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • S KFebruary 15, 2014 - 8:05 am

    TYPO ALERT>>>Meant PERP. Where are my proof readers :-). Too bad we can't go in an EDIT our posts.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Youngster battles brain cancer a 2nd time

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

2 Solano road projects get green light

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A1

 
 
Rush Ranch seeks docents

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A2

Health officials report 1st Solano flu death

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A3, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Kroc Health Fair offers free screenings

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A3

 
Vanden to host science fair

By Bill Hicks | From Page: A4

Woman with Solano ties caught up in tax fraud case

By Jess Sullivan | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police to offer parenting class

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

Frazier schedules coffee in Suisun City

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Vacaville police to offer law enforcement academy

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A4

 
Motorcyclist leads CHP on afternoon chase

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A5

 
Coalition members review tobacco control report card

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A5

 
 
American Legion Post schedules head-shaving fundraiser

By Kevin W. Green | From Page: A6

Vacaville Toastmasters welcome guests

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6

 
Chipotle fundraiser to benefit Armijo newspaper

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A6, 2 Comments

 
Dramas, thrillers lead week’s box office openings

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: B8

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 24, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Jan. 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Fairfield police log: Jan. 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Fairfield police log: Jan. 24, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Jan. 26, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: Jan. 25, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Gold nuggets stolen in smash and grab

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Officials lose track of billions in funding

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Bill would treat e-cigs the same as regular cigarettes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

 
CSU chancellor looks to increase graduation rates

By The Associated Press | From Page: A8

Police: Parents who killed selves, kids feared apocalypse

By The Associated Press | From Page: A13

 
NTSB: Systemic flaws in safety oversight of gas pipelines

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Catholic church in San Francisco to phase out altar girls

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Military has wide discretion on Bergdahl charges

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Gunmen storm Libya hotel, killing American, 9 others

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
Famed civil rights protesters to have arrest records erased

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

Secret talks in Jordan try to win release of hostages

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
‘Wicked storm': Blizzard drops 2 feet of snow on New England

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

On Auschwitz anniversary, leader warns Jews again targets

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
.

Opinion

 
Economic recovery, brought to you by technocrats

By Jared Bernstein | From Page: A11

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Jan. 28, 2015

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

 
Today in History: Jan. 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscope Jan. 28, 2015

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B6

 
We live close to my nephew but he chooses to remain distant

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B6

 
10 Things: 10 fresh takes on Super Bowl guacamole

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
.

Entertainment

Christina Aguilera to perform ahead of NBA All-Star Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
Common, John Legend to perform ‘Glory’ at Academy Awards

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

Katie Holmes to guest on ‘Ray Donovan’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

 
.

Sports

Falcon boys drop 69-61 SCAC loss to Bethel

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Local Report: Armijo boys roll past Napa 69-41

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B1

Nadal loses; Sharapova to play all-Russian semi in Australia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Belichick and The Beast talk but don’t say much at Media Day

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Deflated topic: air pressure in footballs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1, 1 Comment

 
Rose’s shot lifts Bulls over Warriors 113-111 in overtime

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Lynch at Media Day: ‘I’m here so I don’t get fined’

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Christina Aguilera to perform ahead of NBA All-Star Game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Super Bowl, Tiger make Phoenix center of sports universe

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Long after Twitter feud, Revis, Sherman pledge respect

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

The distinctive international flavor of Super Bowl Media Day

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Serena Williams advances, Venus out of Australian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Getting fired from New England led to Carroll’s reinvention

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Sharks in ‘dogfight’ to secure playoff berth

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Jury convicts 2 ex-Vanderbilt players of raping woman

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Rio official says there’s ‘no plan B’ for Olympic sailing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Golfer Allenby stands by story, says truth will come out

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Tony Stewart returns with a swagger not seen in 2 years

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Shooters find not every basketball is same in college game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Patrick heads into 2015 in final season with team, sponsor

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Manfred hopeful of A’s getting new ballpark in Oakland

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Jan. 28, 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

US home price gains slow in November on weaker sales

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

 
FTC clears Albertsons’ purchase of Safeway

By The Associated Press | From Page: A14

.

Obituaries

Clarence E. Morgan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Don Johnson

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 9 Comments

Dzhon Athanc

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Julia P. Tan

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

Woodrow Allen Oakley

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Donald Wesley Johnson

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Joseph Phillip Raiff

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
.

Comics

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6