In February of 2012, Gregorio Luna Luna of Pasco was convicted of aggravated first-degree murder in the death of Griselda Ocampo Meza, the mother of Luna Luna’s child. According to a news article at the Tri-City Herald, the defendant was awaiting deportation in 2010 and in federal custody when he wrote letters to the victim claiming he would come back and kill her, a threat he had allegedly made on numerous occasions.
Luna Luna and Meza had been dating for several years prior to Meza seeking an order to keep him away. Luna Luna was deported to Mexico in May of 2010, however at some point in the following three weeks he crossed back into the U.S., stole a friend’s car in Snohomish, drove back to the Tri-Cities, then confronted the mother of his child at a restaurant in Kennewick before breaking into her Pasco apartment later that evening. Meza was 21 years old when she was stabbed in the heart in front of the couple’s young son.
Luna Luna was sentenced to life in prison for the murder, but appealed his conviction on the grounds that a DNA swab should not have been authorized (then prosecutor of Franklin County Steve Lowe made the application for the DNA sample based on probable cause), and that prosecutors did not prove the samples they wanted to compare the DNA with were blood. Luna Luna’s blood was found at the scene of the murder.
The three-judge appeals court panel found that the defendant’s arguments were without merit. His conviction and sentence will stand.
Appealing any criminal conviction, particularly a murder conviction, is extremely tough. In order to win on appeal, a defendant and his/her attorney must have compelling evidence that errors were made in the criminal justice process, or the defendant’s rights violated in some way. Even when strong evidence is presented, there is never a guarantee that an appeal will be won. It is vital to choose a Michigan criminal appeals attorney who is capable and will thoroughly review every detail of your case to determine its strength and probability of winning on appeal. When your freedom is at stake, be sure that the lawyer you choose to appeal is experienced and knowledgeable in the process, and will work vigorously on your behalf.