A federal appellate court has frustrated the efforts of prosecutors to avoid a retrial of Richard Alex Williams, doing life without parole on a first-degree murder conviction 17 years ago in Sacramento.
U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton last year ordered Williams, now 37, released or retried within 60 days. The now-retired judge found the guilty verdict unconstitutional because Supervising Deputy District Attorney Rob Gold was guided by race when he kept an African American woman off the jury. The judge further found that some of the reasons Gold gave for his action were pretexts.
The judge halted implementation of the order while the state pursued an appeal, but a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday upheld Karlton’s decision.