Thursday, May 18, 2006
Court of Appeal Affirms Sante Kimes’ Murder Conviction
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district yesterday affirmed the murder conviction of Sante Kimes, who drew a life without parole sentence in California after being convicted of a prior murder in New York.
Kimes and her son, Kenny Kimes, drew prison sentences of more than 100 years each in New York in 2000 for murdering 82-year old socialite Irene Silverman, whose body was never found, in an effort to fraudulently acquire her $7 million townhouse.
Kimes and her son were later convicted in California of the murder of Granada Hills businessman, David Kazdin, whose body was found in a dumpster near Los Angeles International Airport.
The cases were the subject of two made-for-television movies and lurid headlines in tabloids.
In a plea bargain to avoid the possibility of a death sentence, Kenny Kimes admitted killing Kazdin and testified against his mother saying that she sent him to kill Kazdin and that he shot him in the back of the head, then threw the body in a dumpster
In an opinion not approved for publication, Justice Sandy R. Kriegler, writing for the Div. Five panel, said:
“Although defendant was not present at the time of David Kazdin’s murder, the prosecution presented overwhelming evidence that defendant planned, instigated, and actively encouraged that crime for the twin purposes of realizing profits on a loan/insurance scam and eliminating a key witness to that fraudulent scheme.”
In her appeal, which was argued May 10, Kimes argued that Superior Court Judge Kathleen Kennedy-Powell erred by not instructing the jury that several witnesses were accomplices and co-conspirators and thus potentially liable for the murder. Kimes claimed that when the trial judge instructed the jury on accomplices, she should have listed the names of these witnesses as being accomplices.
The court was unconvinced. Kreigler wrote:
“Simply stated, there was no solid, credible evidence that those [witnesses] even knew about defendant’s plan to murder Kazdin, much less that they took any knowing steps to promote or encourage its commission.”
Kriegler also rejected Kimes’ claims that she had ineffective assistance of counsel, saying:
“Our review of those arguments shows that they amount to an elaborate exercise in Monday morning quarterbacking. Contrary to defendant’s mistaken approach, we ‘will neither second-guess counsel’s decisions, nor apply the fabled twenty-twenty vision of hindsight.’”
Kimes’ claim that the trial judge erred in not letting her represent herself faired no better. “We reject the claim because the trial court correctly determined that the motion was untimely, and its finding that defendant brought the motion for purposes of delay was entirely supported by the record,” Kriegler wrote.
Seymour I. Amster of Van Nuys represented Kimes on appeal. Deputy Attorney General Michael Johnson argued for the prosecution.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company