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Zumot's attorney looks to overturn murder conviction

Original post made on Jul 26, 2012

The attorney for Paul Zumot, the Palo Alto man convicted last year of strangling his girlfriend and burning down the Addison Avenue cottage they shared, is arguing in an appeal that Zumot did not receive a fair trial and that the conviction should be overturned. ==B Related story:==
• [Web Link Cover story: Her final hours]

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, July 26, 2012, 9:41 AM

Comments (44)

Posted by justice, a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 26, 2012 at 11:07 am

He is right where he needs to be - hope he is having fun. Lots of luck on overturning that conviction! Ain't gonna happen...


Posted by Farah, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2012 at 11:08 am

Zumot, you were found guilty with an overwhelming amount of evidence....



"case closed". No more smoking hookah for u


Posted by Anon., a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2012 at 11:41 am

If someone is going to take Zumot's remaining money it should be the victim's family, not some greedy lawyer who knows damn well he is not going to get anywhere.


Posted by Farah, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2012 at 11:45 am

Anon....amen on that! The victims family deserves monetary compensation at the very least for this terrible, tragedy. The loss of a daughter it must be devastating.


Posted by David Pepperdine, a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 26, 2012 at 11:57 am

FAT CHANCE!


Posted by Arch Conservtive, a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 26, 2012 at 11:58 am

Follow Shakespeare's advice re: lawyers.
Where do those guys find the time to write a 120 page appeal?


Posted by Sue, a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Not going to happen. Get used to prison the REST of your sorry life.


Posted by Drake, a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 26, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Wait!!!
Are we sure he is paying attorney fees out of his own pocket?
I hope its not my honest earned tax $$ paying for it...


Posted by go tax, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2012 at 4:10 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by ehab, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2012 at 5:34 pm

he will be free... the prosecution and the judge were trying to get a convectiion agains him at any cost... they even (judge and the prosecution)violating Zumot's Sixth Amendment right to "confrontation," which prohibits "hearsay" testimony in which the person making accusations cannot be cross-examined by defense attorneys. they got the wrong guy while the real killer still out there free... zumot is an innocent man and should get a chance for a fair trail..


Posted by JenniferBelfari, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2012 at 5:39 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]


Posted by JusticeWillPrevail, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 26, 2012 at 5:46 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Donna, a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:03 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Shelly, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:40 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by stretch, a resident of another community
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:44 pm

Sure, some other abusive boyfriend came after these two argued and killed her and burned down the cottage. What a coincidence, eh? As David Pepperdine said above, "FAT CHANCE!"

First you kill someone, then they use her own words to nail you and you want to confront her? The irony makes me reel.

I hope he rots.


Posted by No-to-1390, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:47 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Gino&Ibraheem, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:48 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by SheLied, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Use your Brain, a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:50 pm

I am not a lawyer, but I know that when an appeal is submitted it has to rely heavily on the court records of what was said during the trial by the defendant, the witnesses and the judge. If what is written in this article is what is mentioned in the appeal, don't you think that Paul's constitutional rights to be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt was violated? Last time I checked Palo Alto is in America not somewhere in the f*** Middle East . Use your Brain


Posted by Joshua, a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:55 pm

No body is above the law. Not Cena, DA or any other. They abused their power once, but justice finally will prevail. Thats why there is appeal; appeal is an expression of injustice, abuse of power and prejudice . You can hope whatever you like ; you are entitled to wish anything ; whether you rot in your toilet or somewherelse ! but whether you like it, or not, your mama likes it, or not, justice will prevail and Paul will be a free man !


Posted by TatianaKovalenko, a resident of Community Center
on Jul 26, 2012 at 6:57 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by StevenKahn, a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 26, 2012 at 7:52 pm

Gardner will arguing Zumot's appeal down to the family's last dime. Each page in the appeal is probably worth $250 to Gardner.


Posted by EPA Mom, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2012 at 8:44 pm

Even if the appeal goes through, they'd try him again and he still be convicted. There is plenty of evidence that he did it. The murderer must be having a miserable time in that hell hole.


Posted by steven, a resident of Atherton
on Jul 26, 2012 at 9:17 pm

paul is going free and the lord will prevail


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2012 at 9:21 pm

It's interesting that allegedly local commenters have popped up in multipliciy on this subject, but aren't regular commenters. They also appear to know a lot about this particular case, but won't admit how they know or how they're related to Zumot. Interesting. I bet they won't be posting on other subjects!


Posted by Sunseri lover, a resident of Monroe Park
on Jul 26, 2012 at 9:46 pm

As much as this is a tragic story for the couple and their families, and there is no winner any way, but he who laughs last, his laugh lasts !
When Paul is out, you will remember what I have said !


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 26, 2012 at 10:29 pm

I recall a plethora of spurious Zumot-supporter comments on news stories during the original trial. Wonder whether they all come from the same IP address...


Posted by EPA Mom, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Agree with you Hmmm. Most likely the same person by some of the punctuation. Maybe the same one who put up the "Free Paul" website that drags the murder victim through the mud (other relationships, medications, plastic surgeries) and makes accusations to everyone but that angel Paul Zumot. The website and the videos that the victim's family pulled down don't even make any sense. Shameful!


Posted by JenniferBelfari, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 27, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Our court system is an embarrassment to our country. Even in third-world countries hearsay is not allowed to be used in the courtroom, let alone for a first-degree murder. And we dare to call ourselves an "advanced" nation? We are not, we are more backwards than others used to be during the Dark Ages. We should be ashamed of ourselves!


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Jennifer exaggerates. Many crimes in 3rd world nations never get a complaint filed on, much less heard in court. Some of these countries legally allow women to be beaten & murdered. I'll take our justice system over one of those, even if it's far from perfect. And speaking of perfect, this murder. Ictim was far from it, but that's not the point - she was still a crime victim & we the people speak FOR her through our prosecutors.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2012 at 1:42 pm

And it's *alleged* hearsay, Jennifer. But you know that.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2012 at 1:48 pm

What's the deal w/using the handle Jennifer Belfari, anyway? I understand the reference but don't get why- but it's tacky.


Posted by logic, a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2012 at 1:59 pm

When someone states they are innocent I always wonder why they don't want to take the lie detector test to clear their name. If I were accused of something I didn't do I would want to take the test to prove it. When an innocent person refuses the lie detector test I have to wonder. You also have to wonder who would strangle a person- this is a crime of passion. So someone slipped in after Zumot left in the morning and strangled her before she went to work. Hmmmm. I think beyond a reasonable doubt was proved. My suggestion for Zumot is to take the lie detector and spend his money finding the real killer to prove his innocence if he truly loved this woman he would want to find the killer. If he doesn't want to do these things then the guilty verdict stands.


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 27, 2012 at 3:30 pm

Lie detector tests are no more useful at determining innocence than throwing someone in the lake to see if they float. What if that neuroscience grad student guy in Colorado passed a lie detector test saying he didn't do it? You keep trying new polygraphers until you get the answer you want.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2012 at 3:37 pm

How often do innocent people flunk polygraph tests? Is it common?


Posted by Farah, a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 27, 2012 at 4:38 pm

Do the crime...Do your time. Found guilty - Case closed


Posted by musical, a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm

I doubt that I could pass if the police arrested me and claimed my fingerprints and other evidence were all over the scene of the crime and I knew they were determined to convict me. On the other hand if I were guilty I'd be mentally prepared and would have nothing to lose. Various miscreants and transnational spies are very good at defeating the test. Jorge Hernandez wouldn't have had a chance.


Posted by Usama, a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 27, 2012 at 7:49 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 27, 2012 at 9:08 pm

I just looked up Calipatria State Prison on Google Earth. It's just east of the Salton Sea, a huge bowl of toxic soup, and not to far from the Mexico border. Having been through that area a few times on my way to San Felipe, I can say the location in just down the road from Hell.


Posted by Hulkamania, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 27, 2012 at 9:16 pm

From Wikipedia:

Highlights:
...it had a design capacity of 2,308 but a total institution population of 4,180, for an occupancy rate of 181.1 percent.

As of 1995, CAL's problems included "double-celling" (placing two inmates in bunk beds in a cell designed for one), psychological stress, a drastic shortage of work for prisoners, chronic understaffing among prison employees, and gang violence.

...very hot in summer-- up to 118 degrees Fahrenheit.

The smell of cow manure pervades the prison and the entire area due to large cattle feed lots neaby.

Facilities

Although located about 3 miles (4.8 km) from the center of Calipatria, the prison is within the city limits. Called the lowest prison in the Western Hemisphere, it lies 184 feet (56 m) below sea level. As of Fiscal Year 2005/2006, CAL had a total of 1,143 staff and an annual operating budget of $123 million.

The facility covers a total of 1,227.5 acres (496.8 ha) (with the prison on 300 acres (120 ha)). As of September 2007, it had a design capacity of 2,308 but a total institution population of 4,180, for an occupancy rate of 181.1 percent. Over 2,000 of its housing units are maximum-security Level IV ("Cells, fenced or walled perimeters, electronic security, more staff and armed officers both inside and outside the installation"); the remainder are minimum-security Level I ("Open dormitories without a secure perimeter").

History

CAL opened in January 1992, approximately 22 months before California State Prison, Centinela (the other state prison in Imperial County). A $1.5 million electrified fence, which could cause instantaneous death for escaping inmates and which was the first of its kind among California state prisons, was installed in November 1993. After a number of birds had died by electrocution, an ornithologist was hired to help redesign the fence and eliminate the problem.

As of 1995, CAL's problems included "double-celling" (placing two inmates in bunk beds in a cell designed for one), psychological stress, a drastic shortage of work for prisoners, chronic understaffing among prison employees, and gang violence. A May 1995 incident in which five inmates stabbed and assaulted eight officers"was described in 1997 as the worst inmate attack on staff in California state prisons in recent years.[7]

The weather in the area is desert-like, cold in winter and very hot in summer-- up to 118 degrees Fahrenheit. The smell of cow manure pervades the prison and the entire area due to large cattle feed lots neaby.

Angelo Buono, Jr. (also known as the Hillside Strangler) died at CAL in September 2002 of a "massive heart attack."

An August 2005 riot at CAL was the most violent uprising at the prison. The event left 25 inmates and 25 prison staff members wounded. A guard shot and killed an inmate with a Mini-14 semiautomatic rifle, which was believed to have contributed to ending the violence. A spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation stated that the disturbance involved Hispanic gang members."


Posted by Outside Observer, a resident of another community
on Jul 27, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Sounds like an excellent place. I'm surprised that California would have a place like this, but I think it's too much for a common murderer.

Justice and poetic justice could both be served if we locked up the employers of illegal aliens there.


Posted by daniel, a resident of Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Jul 28, 2012 at 5:49 am

In most Middle Eastern countries women are considered the property of their fathers/husbands/brothers. "Honor" killing, when women are murdered for "violating: the family honor are common and not punished. The murderer will usually be a brother, father or husband. Violating family honor is not confined to having an affair with another man. It can occur even if the woman only smiles at another man or touches him innocently. From what I read about the relationship of that couple, Zumult had considered her as his property and beat her up frequently. If this had happened in his native Jordan he would very likely be free and never even charged.


Posted by @ go tax, a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 28, 2012 at 6:42 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


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