The Supreme Court today affirms the death sentence in People v. Navarro for a 2002 killing in Orange County that the defendant — a gang member and also a former FBI informant — arranged at the behest of the victim’s sister.

The court’s unanimous opinion by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye held there was substantial evidence the defendant “conspired with or acted as an accomplice to the actual killers.”  The court found several evidentiary errors, including a Sanchez error (see here), but concluded they were harmless.  As in most death penalty appeals, there were a number of other arguments, all of which the court rejected, like the assertion that the superior court improperly forced the deferral of defendant’s opening statement until after the prosecution’s case in chief.