People v. Banks

After a jury trial in 1998 Defendant was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and one count of attempted murder, among other crimes. The jury found true the allegation that the attempted murder was committed willfully, deliberately and with premeditation. After a penalty phase retrial, the trial court imposed a sentence of death. The Supreme Court reduced the conviction of willful, deliberate, and premeditated attempted murder to attempted murder and, in all other respects, affirmed the judgment, holding (1) the trial court did not err in overruling Defendant’s objection to the prosecutor’s use of peremptory challenges against three black prospective jurors; (2) the jury was not properly instructed on the meaning of the terms “willful,” “deliberate,” and “premeditated,” and therefore, a reduction of Defendant’s conviction on count two to a conviction for regular attempted murder was warranted; (3) the trial court did not commit prejudicial error in its evidentiary rulings; (4) Defendant failed to establish that his attorney rendered ineffective assistance or that he was denied his right to a fair trial before an unbiased judge; and (5) during the penalty phase, the trial court erred by excluding evidence of institutional failure, evidence regarding Defendant’s antisocial personality disorder, and evidence about lingering doubt, but the errors were harmless. View "People v. Banks" on Justia Law