Laut’s attorneys claim that the judge erred when he denied them from presenting expert testimony on her mental state. In addition, they also claim that prosecutorial misconduct and omitted jury instructions led to Laut’s conviction. Her attorneys also claim that the judge would not allow them to present evidence of her husband’s anabolic steroid use.
Laut shot her husband, a high school coach and former Olympian, in the front yard of the couple’s home in 2009. Following the shooting, Laut called 911 and reported a prowler and hearing gunshots in front of her home. She later admitted that she lied to police, saying that she shot her husband after he threatened her. She also claimed that her husband threatened to kill their son and the family dogs.
Prosecutors initially charged Laut in 2009. They dropped the charges against her, only to refile them days later. The trial took place in January 2016. During the trial, Laut claimed that she was a victim of domestic violence. She turned down the prosecutor’s offer of a six-year sentence in exchange for a guilty plea. Following the trial, a judge sentenced her to a mandatory 50 years to life in prison.
Laut’s appeal rests in part on a California case decided months after Laut’s conviction. In that case, an appeals court ruled that the trial court improperly limited psychiatric testimony that supported the defendant. Laut’s lawyers want her conviction overturned. Alternately, they seek a new sentencing hearing, if the appeals court does not overturn the conviction. California law recently extended discretion to sentencing judges to strike firearms allegations. A new sentence that strikes the firearms charge could cut Laut’s sentence in half.
Oxnard Domestic Violence Attorney
When you face charges involving domestic abuse, hire an experienced domestic violence attorney like Robert Helfend. Mr. Helfend has nearly 35 years of experience in criminal courtroom defense. He takes cases in Ventura County and throughout Southern California.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County domestic violence case.
Photo Credit: NASA/Audrey Gemignani, via Flickr.com