The California Supreme Court last week unanimously reversed the death sentence for Dora Buenrostro, who was convicted of killing her three children, Susana, Vicente, and Deidra (ages nine, eight, and four, respectively) in 1994 in Riverside County. The Court did, however, affirm Buenrostro’s conviction.
The unanimous opinion, written by Justice Leondra Kruger, rejected a number of Buenrostro’s appeals, but found that a prospective juror was improperly excused based solely on her response on a jury questionnaire that “her strongly held views against the death penalty would make it difficult to vote for the death penalty.” The court said that her admission that it would be difficult “does not per se, prevent or substantially impair the performance of a juror’s duties” and therefore, “U.S. Supreme Court case law requires reversal of the death penalty.” The Court also vacated two of the three multiple-murder special circumstances Buenrostro was convicted of.
The Court’s order means Buenrostro will now get a new penalty trial.