A death sentence for the first woman from Orange County to be sent to death row was reinstated Friday, July 14, by a Federal appeals court.
A three-judge panel from the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of appeals determined that Maria del Rosio “Rosie” Alfaro should face capital punishment for stabbing to death 9-year-old Autumn Wallace more than 50 times during a June 15, 1990, burglary in Anaheim.
Alfaro’s death sentence was overturned in 2014 by U.S. District Judge Cormac J. Carney, who argued that the long waits inmates face on California’s death row constitute cruel and unusual punishment.
The argument echoed contentions Carney also made in overturning the death penalty sentence for Ernest Dwayne Jones, who was facing capital punishment for the gruesome 1995 rape and murder of his girlfriend’s mother in Los Angeles.
Carney, in his written rulings, criticized the state’s “arbitrary and dysfunctional” capital punishment system. Since the state’s death penalty system was adopted in 1978, more than 900 people have been sentenced to death, but only 13 have actually been executed.
A 9th Circuit panel also reinstated Jones’ death penalty, determining that they were bound to comply with the law that exists when someone is convicted.
In Alfaro’s case, the panel found that she should have pursued her appeals claim in state court before turning to the federal court.
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