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California Supreme Court Returns Sara Kruzan Case To Riverside

The California Supreme Court has returned the case of Sara Kruzan --who killed her pimp when she was 16 years old back to Riverside Superior Court, where she was originally convicted.

Aired 7/6/12 on KPBS News.

The Riverside Court has refused a new trial for Kruzan once before.

Earlier this year, prosecutors agreed to reduce Sara Kruzan’s first-degree mu...
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Above: Earlier this year, prosecutors agreed to reduce Sara Kruzan’s first-degree murder charge to second-degree, which made her eligible for parole.

In 1995, Sara Kruzan was sentenced to life without parole for murder. The sentence was later commuted by former Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to life with the possibility of parole.

In 2010, Kruzan's lawyers had asked the state's high court to grant her a new trial. But California Attorney General Kamala Harris asked, instead, that the court return the case to Riverside Superior Court. The Riverside court rejected a new trial for Kruzan two years ago.

But this time the state Supreme Court is requiring the Riverside court to hold a hearing. Kruzan's lawyers have argued that she was a victim of intimate partner violence by her pimp when she killed him. They say that evidence should have been introduced at her trial.

The attorneys say the pimp molested Kruzan soon after she met him when she was 11. They say he raped her and ordered her into prostitution when she was 13. The Riverside Court can now either order a new trial for Kruzan, hold a hearing on evidence or determine the woman, now 34, should be released from prison for time served. Kruzan spent part of her childhood in San Diego.

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Avatar for user 'HarryStreet'

HarryStreet | July 5, 2012 at 5:02 p.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

It amazes me how our legal system allows itself to be strangled in quagmire over cases like this. This woman was abused, raped, and forced into a life she did not choose by a man (her pimp) whose sole goal was to earn money from sex. She's as innocent as the rest of us and should not spend another day in jail.

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Avatar for user 'estrella'

estrella | July 6, 2012 at 7:02 p.m. ― 4 years, 8 months ago

There is no doubt Sara is innocent. for example, look at this

Kruzan’s tragic and widely acknowledged unjust circumstance is a personal example of why the United Nations protocol and U.S. federal law stipulate that any minor subjected to commercial sexual activity—whether forced or voluntarily--must be considered victims rather than criminals.

so this is and has been very clear to the U.N., and even in U.S. federal law,
and everywhere in the known world.

EXCEPT for the state of California, which remains stuck in some 19 century notion of - ok i don't know what, or why.

It appears that Sara could appeal her c ase to federal court, and get it reversed- but who wants t wait that long?
Riverside needs to correct its horrible mistake, and set Sara free. now.

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