In a recent Wall Street Journal Law Blog Post written by Chad Bray entitled:California’s Longest-Serving Death Row Inmate Wins in Ninth Circuit, Mr. Stankewitz, a Native American, has been on death row in California since 1978, when he was convicted in the kidnapping and murder of Ms. Greybeal had his capital sentence set aside.
Mr. Stankewitz was one of the first people sentenced to death after the state reinstated capital punishment in 1978. Thirteen people have been executed since. In a 2-1 decision Monday, the Ninth Circuit upheld a court order that Mr. Stankewitz’s death sentence be vacated unless California officials seek to retry the capital phase of his case within 90 days or resentence him to life without parole.
The ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit tracked that of a lower court, which found that a lawyer for Douglas Ray Stankewitz failed to investigate circumstances leading up to the murder of Theresa Greybeal – namely Mr. Stankewitz’s abusive childhood and long history of substance abuse.
For further information, please read the entire Wall Street Journal Blog Post.