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People v. Perez

Filed 3/1/18 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA THE PEOPLE, ) ) Plaintiff and Respondent, ) ) S104144 v. ) ) JOSEPH ANDREW PEREZ, JR., ) ) Contra Costa County Defendant and Appellant. ) Super. Ct. No. 990453-3 ____________________________________) In November 2001, Joseph Andrew Perez, Jr., was sentenced to death for killing Janet Daher during a March 1998 robbery at Daher’s home. This is Perez’s automatic appeal. Perez alleges several defects both at his jury trial and in California’s administration of the death penalty. We affirm the judgment. I. On March 24, 1998, Janet Daher was found dead in her home in Lafayette, California. An indictment filed in Contra Costa County Superior Court on March 24, 1999, charged Perez along with Lee Snyder and Maury O’Brien of four crimes related to Mrs. Daher’s death: murder, residential robbery, residential burglary, and vehicle theft. The indictment charged special circumstances for the murder count under Penal Code section 190.2, subdivision (a)(17), alleging that Mrs. Daher was killed during the commission of a robbery and burglary. 1 The three cases were severed, and Snyder, who was 17 at the time of the crimes, was tried 1 All subsequent unlabeled statutory references are to the Penal Code. 1 first. (See People v. Snyder (2003) 112 Cal.App.4th 1200, 1206, 1216.) He was convicted of all four charges and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, plus six years. (Ibid.) Jury selection for Perez’s trial started on September 12, 2001, and testimony began on September 24. O’Brien had not been tried when Perez’s trial began. The trial’s first witnesses described how the victim’s body was discovered. The victim’s husband, Joe Daher, testified that he left home for his daughter Lauren’s softball game around 2:00 p.m. on the day of Mrs. Daher’s death. Mrs. Daher was home at the time, and Mr. Daher left the garage door open. According to Mr. Daher’s testimony, he answered a phone call from his other daughter Annie on his way home from the game. Annie had come home from school to find her mother missing and the contents of her mother’s purse strewn on the floor. Annie did not go upstairs to the master bedroom, and she eventually called law enforcement. The dispatcher told her that officers had found her mother’s vehicle and that officers were on their way to the house. Two officers arrived and one went upstairs. He testified that he found Mrs. Daher’s body on the floor of the master bedroom with a phone cord tied “very tightly around her hands” “up to her neck, around her neck.” Mr. Daher later helped officers identify the property that was missing from the house, including his wife’s sport utility vehicle (SUV) and several thousands of dollars’ worth of jewelry. Law enforcement officers soon began recovering some of the stolen property and identifying suspects. Multiple witnesses told officers that they saw three men near the Daher home on the afternoon of the murder. One of these witnesses testified that …
Original document
Source: California Supreme Court