Aug. 11, 2022 – People v. Morelos (Supreme Ct., S051968)

The Supreme Court affirms appellant’s death sentence following a bench trial, concluding that the trial court did not err by allowing appellant to represent himself or by denying advisory counsel; that appellant validly waived jury for both guilt and penalty phases; and that the trial did not constitute a “slow plea” in violation of PC 1018, despite the fact that appellant did not cross examine most witnesses, presented no mitigation, and testified that he should be sentenced to death. Justice Liu dissents, writing that the record fails to affirmatively show that appellant’s jury waiver was voluntary and intelligent.