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Background: Willard Bradley was sentenced to 10 years in prison in early 2009 after being convicted on a charge of voluntary manslaughter with an enhancement for using a gun in the commission of a felony. A jury found Bradley, then 22, guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting death May 17, 2007, of Dominik Wolfe at the Valley Heights apartments in Quincy.
The appeal: Bradley’s legal counsel appealed the case to the 3rd Appellate District Court of California, arguing his jury should have been given the option to consider the charge of involuntary manslaughter as an option, as opposed to being forced to choose between more serious charges or complete innocence.
The decision: The appellate court found that Plumas County Superior Court Judge Ira Kaufman made the correct decision in excluding the involuntary manslaughter as a possible verdict, as the evidence did not support that conclusion.
What’s next: The next step in the appeal process would be to take the case to the Supreme Court of California.
Worth noting, the 3rd Appellate District decision was heard by three judges, one of whom was Tani Cantil-Sakauye, just before she became the chief justice of the state Supreme Court.
This means, if the case is appealed to the next level, one of the judges who already denied the appeal will probably play a key role in deciding its ultimate outcome in the state’s highest court.
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