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“Mr. Maple:  Well—

“The Court:  Let’s go on to another subject matter.”  

Maple then asked the prospective juror whether knowing what happened to her cousins would affect her ability to judge this case fairly.  She replied in the negative.

Defendant contends it was error to cut off defense counsel’s line of questioning, which assertedly might have revealed similarities between the murder of N.’s cousins and the present case.  Perhaps, defendant suggests, N. would have answered “by saying that the cousins were murdered to prevent them from testifying against the murderer.”  But N.’s actual answers—that the killer and victims had been in business together and the killer was found to be insane at the time—do not suggest any particular similarity to the present case.  Given the remoteness in time of the cousins’ killing (32 years before this trial) and the lack of any apparent close similarity, we conclude the court’s exercise of discretion to expedite the examination (People v. Wright, supra, 52 Cal.3d at p. 419) did not affect defendant’s right to a fair and impartial jury (People v. Bittaker (1989) 48 Cal.3d 1046, 1086) or the reliability of the penalty verdict.

VI.  Cross-examination of Gladys Koll

Defendant claims he was denied his rights of confrontation and effective assistance of counsel, his right to a reliable death verdict, and his right to present a defense by the court’s ruling sustaining a relevance objection to defense counsel’s question of the victim’s wife, Gladys Koll, regarding the contents of the pharmacy safe.

Gladys Koll testified that after her husband’s death she checked the pharmacy inventory and records and found that no controlled narcotics, which were kept in the safe, were missing, and that the safe “hadn’t been disturbed.”  

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