Showing posts with label Death Penalty Commuted in 1972. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Death Penalty Commuted in 1972. Show all posts

Saturday, January 26, 2013

California Supreme Court overturns the Death Penalty in 1972.

The People of the State of California v. Robert Page Anderson

Apparently, on April 8, 1965, Mr Anderson took a bus to trade a diamond ring at a pawnshop. 

"What happened inside, and the four hours of fierce gun battle that ensued, went down as the most dramatic police operation in San Diego history at that time. One man was killed, two others wounded. More than 1,000 rounds of ammunition were fired. A newspaperman at the scene suffered a heart attack and died. A man trapped in the two-story structure eventually lost his eyesight from the tear gas tossed by police through the bullet-shattered windows."- The Los Angles Times. 

Here is a link to that article:
http://articles.latimes.com/1990-04-03/local/me-457_1_san-diego-police

The California Supreme Court took up the issue of Mr. Anderson's death sentence. 
After several hearings and trials the California Supreme Court overturned the death sentences of every prisoner on death row in 1972, and commuted their sentences to "life in prison". 

These included Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, and over 100 others.  One issue the court considered was the phrasing of various documents.   The US Constitution uses the phrase "cruel AND unusual punishment", while the California Constitution says "cruel OR unusual punishment".

This decision was later overruled by California Proposition 17, later in 1972.  It was not retro-active however.  Mr. Anderson's sentence was commuted, he was paroled in 1976 and moved to Seattle, he later said  "I wish I never got off that bus."

The following vid is from the movie "I Want To Live".  Apparently, it's Hollywood's version of the execution of Barbara Graham in the gas chamber.
Finally, the gas chamber at San Quentin has apparently been modified to administer lethal injections: