Thursday, July 31, 2014
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

It’s ‘camping for 30′ at the Solano fair

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Cities dealing with state drought rules

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Muralist helps locals ready for some painted wall history

By Susan Winlow | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Rejection makes us each stronger

By Angela Borchert | From Page: A2

 
Highway 12 crash sends 2 to hospital

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
Mall to host Ultimate Army Throw Down

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A4

Price will seek re-election as Fairfield mayor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A4

 
Police release name of Vallejo homicide victim

By Glen Faison | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Fairfield police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

Suisun City police log: July 29, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
.

US / World

Peace Corps evacuates over Ebola as 2 isolated

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4 | Gallery

Dissent quieted with most Israelis behind Gaza war

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Deadly Israeli strikes hit UN school, market area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5 | Gallery

Obama takes tougher line against Gaza casualties

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
AP Analysis: Amid war, endgames in Gaza emerge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

2 women survive ordeal along Indiana rail bridge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ex-IRS official called conservatives ‘crazies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Suing Obama: GOP-led House gives the go-ahead

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Congress cooperates – and fights – as recess nears

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Powell maybe not told early about CIA techniques

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Crews work to keep Yosemite fire from sequoias

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

Sanctions will damage Russia if not lifted quickly

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
Clashes prevent experts from reaching bodies

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
Cruz gets border crisis wrong

By Ruben Navarrette | From Page: A11

Editorial Cartoons: July 31, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

 
What happened to the US?

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11, 9 Comments

Am I blaming victims?

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11

 
Why ‘compassionate conservatism’ is still dead

By Ramesh Ponnuru | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History for July 31, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 31, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for July 31, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
I want to change my daughters last name to my maiden name

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Commentary: ‘Orphan Black,’ Emmy snubs and questions of identity

By Los Angeles Times | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Allison Williams headed skyward as NBC’s Peter Pan

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Contract dispute delays ‘Big Bang’ production

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

.

Sports

SF benefits from Pirates’ blunder, ends skid at 6

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Complete game shutout lifts Expos to State Tournament win

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Hammel fails again for Athletics in loss to Astros

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Ray Guy’s long wait for Hall of Fame comes to end

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders owner confirms talks with San Antonio

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
Lloyd’s film watching impresses 49ers teammates

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

Stanford star Ty Montgomery rehabbing shoulder

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
Greg Ives to crew chief Earnhardt in 2015

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

Steelers to retire Hall of Famer Greene’s No. 75

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Fairfield-Suisun 6U Bobby Sox win titles

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B4

Usain Bolt in controversy at Commonwealth Games

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Indians trade pitcher Masterson to Cardinals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Riley speaks out, insists Heat will be competitive

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
Nadal out of 2 tournaments because of right wrist

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

Pipe break that flooded UCLA dumps 20M gallons

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

US judge slaps $1.3B fine on Bank of America

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
A more vigorous US economy appears to be emerging

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Overhaul approved for troubled California refinery

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Judge says Crystal CEO should testify in lawsuit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7, 1 Comment

.

Obituaries

Clifford C. Hemler

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Louise Scholten

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

Ronald Witt Escue Sr.

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Scott Allen Shaver

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9