First O.J. goes down and now this. It’s almost like there’s hope for the criminal justice system after all. We can convict a celebrity! . . . as long as he’s a psycho freak who has threatened people with guns all his life . . . and occasionally wears his hair in a foot-tall frizzed-up hairdo . . .
. . . and whose defense is that he didn’t just threaten women with guns — he threatened men, too.
Upon hearing the news of the conviction, the news guys on NBC were trying to figure out what the sentence might be. How stupid can these media types be? Sentencing on a case like this isn’t rocket science. How hard is it to contact an expert ahead of time, to know the answers to such questions right away?
As an example, take the L.A. Times article on the conviction . . . please:
The verdict means Spector, famed for his work with Tina Turner, the Beatles, the Righteous Brothers and others, faces 15 years for murder and at least three for gun enhancement when he is sentenced May 29.
OK, wrong and wrong. Second-degree murder carries a sentence of 15 years to life, not 15 years. That’s error number one. A typical gun enhancement under Penal Code section 12022.53(d) — which is almost certainly what was charged here — carries an extra 25-to-life sentence. Not three years.* That’s error number two.
Add them up and the total is 40-to-life. I haven’t seen the charging documents, but that’s almost certainly what Spector is facing. Not 18 years. [See UPDATES below.]
Jeez. Again, how hard is this to figure out in advance?
Spector was remanded to the custody of the sheriff and will likely never live another free moment.
Congratulations to DDAs Alan Jackson and Truc Do.
Spector arrived in court Monday wearing a “Barack Obama” button.
Spector thus continued a streak of Convicted Murderers for Obama. They should form a support group. You know . . . in prison.
[As always, this post is made pursuant to my First Amendment rights as a private citizen and not in any official capacity. APR 5.2%. Offer not good in California. Contents may settle during shipping.]
UPDATE: The press release from the L.A. County District Attorney says:
Spector faces 15 years to life in prison for the murder conviction and another three, four or 10 years tacked on to that term for the gun use.
Ben Sheffner of the invaluable Copyrights and Campaigns blog sends a link to the indictment, which charges only allegations under Penal Code sections 12022.5(a) and 12022.53(b). The reason is not clear to me.
Even if the PC 12022.53(b) allegation were the only gun allegation charged, the gun enhancement would presumably be 10 years, not 3, 4, or 10 years. This 10-year enhancement is mandatory even if the jury also finds true a 12022.5(a) enhancement.
And People v. Izaguirre (2007) 42 Cal.4th 126 holds that a conviction of a 12022.53(d) gun enhancement (a 25-to-life enhancement) can be imposed consecutive to a 15-to-life sentence for a second-degree murder charge. So a standard second-degree murder with a personal use of a firearm should result in a 40-to-life sentence.
UPDATE x2: A reader suggests a reason: that Spector did not discharge the gun intentionally. Now that the reader mentions it, I recall that our office proceeded under an implied malice theory, which does not require intent to kill.
You’d think, however, that a jury (or grand jury) that didn’t find an intentional discharge would find Spector guilty of an involuntary manslaughter and not a murder, though. Intent to pull the trigger and intent to kill are not necessarily the same thing; you can have the former (and a second degree murder) without the latter; but implied malice without an intent to pull the trigger seems like a stretch (though I suppose it’s possible in theory).