The Supreme Court today affirms the death sentence in People v. Miranda-Guerrero for a defendant convicted of murder, kidnapping to commit rape, attempted carjacking, assault with intent to commit rape, and receiving stolen property in 1999 and 2000.
The court’s unanimous opinion by Justice Goodwin Liu addresses numerous appellate arguments the defendant makes, but uses 17 of its 42 pages analyzing his Miranda-violation claim. Among other things, the court finds an on-the-fly Spanish translation of the defendant’s rights was “suboptimal” and is unsure why officers didn’t use a printed card with a proper translation. It nonetheless concludes “the Spanish admonition adequately informed [the defendant] of his rights,” even though the court says it’s “a closer question” whether there was a sufficient advisement of the right to consult with an attorney prior to, and have an attorney present during, an interrogation.
The court also rejects the claim that, because the defendant — a Mexican national — wasn’t advised of his right to the assistance of the Mexican consulate, there should be a “ ‘comprehensive judicial “review and reconsideration” of his conviction and sentence.’ ” However, the opinion is not conclusive on the issue — “Any matters outside the record suggesting that Miranda-Guerrero was prejudiced may be raised in a petition for habeas corpus; we express no view here on the validity of such a claim.” (Related: here.)