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Home blog Criminal Defense Death Penalty Upheld as Possible Sentence for Seal Beach Shooter

Death Penalty Upheld as Possible Sentence for Seal Beach Shooter

By Michael Guisti on March 13, 2015

Orange County, CA — No one has been executed in California since 2006. Although the death penalty remains on the books and convicted criminals are still condemned to die, the question of whether execution violates the Constitution’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment is still debated in our courts. At the local level, the question of whether or not those accused of the most horrific crimes should face the possibility of execution plays out in courtrooms statewide.

On Thursday, Judge Thomas Goethals of the Orange County Superior Court ruled that the death penalty will remain in place as a possible punishment for Scott Dekraai, who pleaded guilty to eight counts of first degree murder in May of last year. In 2011, Dekraai went on a shooting spree in Seal Beach, beginning at the salon where his ex-wife was employed.

Though the judge rejected Dekraai’s bid to bar the death penalty, he did remove the Orange County DA’s office from the case. Both motions originated with Dekraai’s attorney, Assistant Public Defender Scott Sanders, who has carried out a lengthy and thorough investigation that has helped reveal the illegal use of prison informants in Orange County jails, and the refusal of the prosecutors to turn over evidence. Goethals characterized the prosecution’s actions as a “chronic failure” and “sadly deficient.”

A relative of one of Dekraai’s victims placed blame for this newest development on Orange County District Attorney Tony Raukaukas. A jury will determine whether Dekraai will be sentenced to death or life in prison.

Does California use the death penalty?

While execution remains up for debate in the courts, the fact of the matter is there are still hundreds of people on death row in this state and the death penalty remains on the books as a possible punishment for those convicted of the most heinous crimes. The most important thing that you can do for your defense when you are charged with a serious violent offense is to hire an experienced criminal defense attorney.

At the Law Office of Michael L. Guisti, we work hard to ensure that all of our clients receive the best possible defense against felony and misdemeanor charges in Orange County. We’ve successfully defended clients against charges of domestic violence, sexual assault, drug possession, theft, fraud, and murder, and we know all the best strategies for having charges reduced or dismissed. We aren’t afraid of difficult or high-profile cases and are fully licensed to practice law in state and federal courts.

We know how hard it is to face criminal charges, and we’ll do everything we can to help you shoulder the burden. Our friendly and compassionate staff of legal professionals is available to help you 24/7. Let us put our years of training and experience to work for you.

As a part of Orange County’s court system for over 16 years, we know what’s best when it comes to working with local judges, law enforcement and prosecutors. Our offices in Irvine, Santa Ana, Garden Grove, and Newport Beach are conveniently located near major population center and local courthouses. We demonstrate our commitment to serving the diverse local community by offering foreign language assistance in Spanish, Chinese, and other languages.


Goffard, Christopher. “Judge boots D.A. from Seal Beach mass killer case; death penalty remains.” http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-judge-mass-shooter-ruling-orange-county-20150312-story.html. Los Angeles Times. 12 March 2015.

“Number of Executions, 1983 to Present.” http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Capital_Punishment/Number_Executions.html. California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Accessed 12 March 2015.

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