the rights of victims and the criminally accused in order to enforce our criminal justice system.
The selection of our cases impacts our daily lives.
CJLF defends and advances laws that allow police and prosecutors to uncover and introduce evidence related to the guilt or innocence of those arrested and charged with crimes.
A 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Ohio v. Clark overturned a state high court ruling which had voided a child abuser’s conviction because the young victim’s pre-school teachers were allowed to testify whom the child said had hit him. The Supreme Court decision held that the teachers’ testimony was proper and reinstated the criminal’s conviction and sentence. CJLF filed argument encouraging this decision.LEGAL PROCEDURE
CJLF defends and advances legal procedural rules which allow prosecutors, juries, and judges to fairly and efficiently conduct the trial and sentencing of criminal defendants and assure that convictions and sentences are not arbitrarily overturned by activist appellate courts.
A 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Kansas v. Jonathan Carr, Kansas v. Reginald Carr, and Kansas v. Sidney Gleason overturned a state high court ruling which had voided the death sentences of three brutal murderers because the court found the state’s standard instruction to the sentencing juries unconstitutional. A similar jury instruction is utilized in several other states, including California. The Supreme Court held that the lower court was wrong, that the instruction complied with the Constitution, and reinstated the death sentences of the three murderers. CJLF filed argument encouraging this decision.SENTENCING
CJLF defends advances laws which sentence criminals appropriately based upon the seriousness of the crime, the criminal’s record, and dangerousness to the public.
A 2009 U.S. Supreme Court decision in Oregon v. Ice overturned a state high court ruling which announced that a trial judge did not have the authority to require a sex offender who repeatedly molested an 11-year-old girl to serve the sentences for his convictions of six felonies consecutively. The Supreme Court held that the Oregon court had misinterpreted precedent to reduce the criminal’s sentence, and that the original sentence was proper. CJLF filed argument encouraging this decision.VICTIMS' RIGHTS
CJLF defends current law and encourages precedent-setting decisions protecting and expanding the right of crime victims to have criminals who preyed upon them or their loved ones tried, convicted, and punished in a prompt and efficient manner.
In 2014, CJLF filed a lawsuit (Alexander & Winchell v. Beard) against the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) on behalf of the families of 5 murder victims demanding an end to the CDCR’s nine-year delay in establishing a protocol to execute the murderers of their loved ones. After a February 2015 Superior Court ruling announcing that the victims’ families had legal standing to petition the state on this issue, the CDCR settled the case and announced a new protocol complying with the federal court’s requirements in November 2015. CJLF represented the families in this suit and negotiated the settlement with the CDCR.CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
CJLF defends state and federal laws which qualify the nation’s worst murderers for the death penalty and encourages the removal of legal obstacles unrelated to a murderer’s guilt or timely enforcement of the law.
A 2015 Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals decision in Jones v. Davis overturned a lower federal court ruling declaring California’s death penalty unconstitutional. Davis was convicted and sentenced to death by a unanimous jury for the 1995 rape and murder of his girlfriend’s mother. In July 2014, after 19 years of review by several courts, a federal district judge, reviewing the case on habeas corpus, announced that the length of time taken to review death penalty cases in California violated the Constitution by subjecting the murderer to cruel and unusual punishment. CJLF submitted argument in the case, noting that the judge’s discovery of this new Eighth Amendment right violated the Foundation’s 1989 U.S. Supreme Court victory in Teague v. Lane, which prohibited the lower federal courts from inventing new rights on habeas corpus. CJLF also noted that the defendant is almost always the singular advocate for delay in capital cases. The Ninth Circuit agreed, reinstating the murderer’s sentence.