Monday, December 22, 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

Christmas comes early to San Marco Street park

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1, 5 Comments | Gallery

 
Travis squadron delivers Christmas gifts to East Tabor

By Ryan McCarthy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Multiple car accident blocks I-80 in Vacaville

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3, 2 Comments | Gallery

 
 
 
 
Kitchen fire dislocates family for Christmas

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4, 3 Comments | Gallery

Famous Creations’ toy drive and cupcake sale

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4 | Gallery

 
Last-minute shopping at Vacaville Premium Outlets

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: A4, 1 Comment | Gallery

Fairfield police log: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Suisun City police log: Dec. 20, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Weather for Dec. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: B10

 
.

US / World

Killer of 2 NYC officers had long criminal history

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

 
Killings of 2 New York officers trigger backlash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 7 Comments

California puzzles over safety of driverless cars

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 4 Comments

 
Timeline of events before and after NY cop deaths

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

A look at the 2 NYC officers killed in ambush

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Pakistan makes arrests in Taliban school carnage

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Tent city sprouts in shadow of downtown Detroit

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
US mulls putting NKorea on terrorism sponsor list

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Satanic Temple puts up display at Michigan Capitol

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 7 Comments

 
Australian woman charged with murder of 8 children

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Exit poll: Ex-regime official is Tunisia’s new president

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
.

Opinion

Faust and the 2015 federal budget

By Mike Kirchubel | From Page: A8, 17 Comments

 
Obama, surgeon general still losing to NRA

By Francis Wilkinson | From Page: A8, 5 Comments

Let the music begin

By Colleen Britton | From Page: A8, 4 Comments

 
Editorial Cartoon: Dec. 22, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Community Calendar: Dec. 22, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2, 1 Comment

 
Today in History: Dec. 22, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Dec. 23, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
 
Horoscopes: Dec. 22, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A7

.

Entertainment

TVGrid Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
‘Hobbit’ goes out on top with $90.6 million 5-day debut

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

Good news from Tom Brokaw: His cancer is in remission

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Review: ‘The Interview’ deserves to be seen

By Jake Coyle | From Page: B7

Happy day: Elton John, David Furnish marry in England

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
TVGrid Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B7

.

Sports

Kings snap 5-game losing skid, beat Lakers 108-101

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Burns gives Sharks late-night win over Blues in OT

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

The Week Ahead: Not much of a break for Christmas

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1

 
Steelers, Packers win, move into playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Raiders knock Bills out of playoffs with 26-24 win

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Super-G crash makes Vonn wait in bid for record

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

NFL Roundup: Cowboys end 4-year drought, make playoffs

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
7 hurt when lightning strikes near Tampa Bay game

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

India’s Arjun Atwal wins Dubai Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Documents: FSU QB Winston cleared in conduct hearing

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

.

Business

US companies eager to embrace Cuba face hurdles

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Survey: US gas prices fall 25 cents per gallon

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

.

Obituaries

Marian Kay Zutz

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Bart Ferro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Wizard of Id Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Baby Blues Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Zits Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Pickles Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Rose is Rose Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
For Better or Worse Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Dilbert Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Frank and Ernest Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Sally Forth Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
B.C. Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Crossword Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Cryptoquote Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Sudoku Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Bridge Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Word Sleuth Dec 23

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Blondie Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Beetle Bailey Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Garfield Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

B.C. Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Wizard of Id Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

For Better or Worse Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Get Fuzzy Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Baby Blues Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Baldo Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Zits Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Peanuts Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Dilbert Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Sally Forth Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Pickles Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Rose is Rose Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

Frank and Ernest Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A6

 
Word Sleuth Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Crossword Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Sudoku Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

Cryptoquote Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

 
Bridge Dec 22

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7