California Supreme Court

California Supreme Court Justices Leondra Kruger, center, and Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, right, provided the necessary votes to rehear a death penalty case. (S. Todd Rogers / Associated Press)

By Maura Dolan
March 11, 2015

Gov. Jerry Brown’s two newest appointees to the California Supreme Court provided enough votes Wednesday for reconsideration of a death penalty case, the first example of the impact Brown is having on the state’s highest court.

In a ruling issued in early January, the state high court decided 4 to 3 to uphold the death sentence of Gary Lee Grimes, a Shasta County man who participated in a 1995 home invasion that resulted in the killing of Betty Bone, 98.

On the day that decision was issued, Justices Mariano-Florentino Cuellar and Leondra R. Kruger were sworn in, two of three Brown appointees now on the seven-member court.

Grimes’ defense attorney asked the newly reconstituted court to reconsider, a request that is routinely denied except at times of court turnover.

In a brief order Wednesday, the court announced it would reconsider the case. Cuellar and Krueger joined two of the previous dissenters in deciding to rehear the appeal.

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