Chutzpah: Murder for Insurance Money Life Sentences Affirmed: INSURANCE FRAUD IS A VIOLENT CRIME.

AuthorZalma, Barry
Position[ON MY RADAR]

* When convicted of murder in the first degree and conspiracy to commit murder for life insurance money, the defendants require a great deal of chutzpah (unmitigated gall) to file multiple appeals to reduce or eliminate the life without parole sentences. In the latest effort, The People v. Leny Peterson Galafate, F081563, California Court of Appeals, Fifth District (June 9, 2022) the Court of Appeal wrote a detailed opinion discussing all of the arguments filed by the murderer expending more time and paper than a convicted murder who had already appealed unsuccessfully to different courts that was not deserved.


In 1989, appellant Leny Peterson Galafate and her then-husband, codefendant Roman Galafate III, were convicted after a joint jury trial of count 1, first degree premeditated murder, with the special circumstance that the murder was intentional and carried out for financial gain; and count 2, conspiracy to commit murder for financial gain.

In 1991, the Court of Appeal affirmed defendants' convictions and sentences on appeal and the Supreme Court refused to hear their case. Not convinced they appealed again involving Leny's petition for resentencing pursuant to Penal Code section 1170.95, filed in 2019. Her petition alleged she was entitled to relief because she was not the actual killer, and her murder conviction was based on the felony-murder rule and/or the natural and probable consequences doctrine. The court summarily denied the petition without holding a hearing.

Leny asserts the superior court improperly relied on this courts prior opinion to summarily deny her petition without a hearing, this court's prior opinion is likely unreliable, and she made a prima facie case for relief because the instructions allowed the jury to convict of murder her based on an imputed malice theory.

In the mid-1980's, defendants Roman Galafate (Roman) and his then-wife, Leny Petersen Galafate (Leny), resided with family members in Delano, California. Roman was an agent for Midland National Life Insurance Company (Midland National) and had an office in the MGM Professional Building in Delano.

Roman processed an application for a $250,000 insurance policy on the life of Violeta Petersen. The application was dated February 18, 1986, and named "Leny Petersen" as beneficiary of the proceeds. Leny Petersen was Leny's maiden name.

Roman transmitted the completed application and money order to Midland National in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Midland...

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