The Supreme Court today affirms the death sentence in People v. Morales for the 2002 murders of four people at a house in Whittier.  Among many other things, the defendant was convicted of a forcible lewd act against one of the victims, an eight-year-old girl.

The court’s unanimous opinion by Justice Leondra Kruger rejects numerous arguments, including claims that the jury shouldn’t have seen grisly crime scene and autopsy photos and that the superior court improperly allowed testimony from a crime scene reconstruction expert.  The court also concludes that one aspect of the expert’s testimony — about the sequence of the murders — “did not add meaningfully to the picture already before the jury” and was harmless, even if it was too speculative to be admissible.

As it has before (and in another case today), the court summarily dismisses an argument that juries should be required to make unanimous findings on aggravating factors, an issue about which it has asked for supplemental briefing in another capital appeal.  (See here and here.)