In the supreme court of california


E. Admitting Victim Impact Evidence



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E. Admitting Victim Impact Evidence


During the penalty phase, the victim’s mother and grandmother presented brief victim impact evidence. Over objection, and after reviewing them, the court admitted eight photographs of the victim while alive. They were presented through the mother’s testimony.

Within limits, as when it invites an irrational response from the jury, the prosecution may present evidence of the impact of the capital crime on loved ones and the community. (See People v. Rountree, supra, 56 Cal.4th at p. 858.) The evidence here was not particularly emotional and was presented very quickly. Presenting it consumed a small fraction of the time devoted to defendant’s case in mitigation. This testimony came well within permissible limits. (Ibid.)

Defendant argues primarily that the court should not have admitted the photographs of the victim while alive. He especially objects to two photographs of her in Halloween costumes dressed as a princess and an angel. However, admitting the still photographs also came within the court’s discretion. (People v. Rountree, supra, 56 Cal.4th at p. 858; see People v. Zamudio (2008) 43 Cal.4th 327, 365-368 [14-minute videotaped montage of photographs properly admitted].)




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