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Judge Vacates Death Sentence

LOS ANGELES (CN) - A federal judge has vacated the conviction and death sentence of Richard Raymond Ramirez because the jury foreman, an attorney who had applied to work for the FBI, made an "affirmative misrepresentation about his employment status during voir dire."

The juryconvicted Ramirez of raping and murdering Kimberly Gonsalez outside a Garden Grove bar in 1983. U.S. District Judge Consuelo Marshall denied Ramirez's claim that he had ineffective assistance of counsel, but found that jury foreman Thomas Alston, an attorney who had applied to work for the FBI, "affirmative misrepresentation about his employment status during voir dire give rise to a presumption of bias that was not dispelled at the evidentiary hearing, and requires this Court to grant habeas relief."

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