Samantha Green Sentenced to Life


YoloCourt-22by Sarah Senan

As Samantha Green replayed the events that led her 19-day-old baby, Justice Rees, to death, Yolo Superior Court Judge David Rosenberg said to Ms. Green that her time in prison would “pale in comparison to the confines of your own mind.”

A packed courtroom gathered in Department 14 to hear the final sentencing of the ongoing case – the People v. Samantha Green, Judge Rosenberg presiding. Samantha Green was charged with second-degree murder with implied malice in the death of her 19-day-old son, Justice Rees. Public Defender Tracie Olson represents Ms. Green, and Deputy District Attorneys Ryan Couzens and Robert Gorman are representing the prosecution.

There exist two theories for the case. The defense has argued that Ms. Green’s actions occurred due to a methamphetamine-induced psychosis. However, the prosecution has argued that Ms. Green’s venture into the slough with her baby was due to her methamphetamine-induced jealousy of her fiancé. Regardless of the theory, the baby was found dead just days after the incident was reported.

After over a day of deliberation, a Yolo County jury back in September found Ms. Green guilty. The jurors ruled that her actions which led to the death of Justice Rees constituted second-degree murder.

Ms. Olson argued that the jury’s decision was invalidated, as she filed a motion for either a new trial or to reduce the verdict. Ms. Olson argued that she has been an attorney since 1998 and that the jury’s decision was the most far-off verdict she has ever seen.

Ms. Olson stated, “This is the most unfounded jury verdict that I’ve seen.” She urged the court to to reweigh all the evidence and to form an opinion – as a judge is able to put aside the verdict if the evidence is lacking.

The prosecution argued that the evidence was sufficient to prove the judgment. Mr. Couzens also referred back to 1977 case law which states that if a baby is found frozen to death, it is to be considered murder. Mr. Couzens said, “The child froze to death. In a manner of death that can only be described as slow and agonizing.”

Mr. Couzens argued that Ms. Green was  well acquainted with meth – as she had experienced the use of the drug herself and her parents both struggled from drug addiction. “She knew about every single possible consequence of using methamphetamine and decided to go on a bender,” said Mr. Couzens. He added that this was his second child homicide case linked to methamphetamine.  “It is disgraceful that in this state we appear to treat plastic bags as a greater evil than methamphetamine.”

After hearing both defense and prosecution, and having both studied the evidence and presided over the case, Judge Rosenberg rejected the plea for a new trial, as he believed the jury’s verdict was supported by the evidence. Judge Rosenberg sentenced Ms. Green to 15 years to life in prison.

“Ms. Green, back in Feb of 2015 you violated the most basic responsibility of a parent,” said Judge Rosenberg. “You put your child in harm’s way. And because of your actions your child is dead.”

“It really is a tragic case all around,” Judge Rosenberg concluded.


About The Author

The Vanguard Court Watch operates in Yolo, Sacramento and Sacramento Counties with a mission to monitor and report on court cases. Anyone interested in interning at the Courthouse or volunteering to monitor cases should contact the Vanguard at info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org - please email info(at)davisvanguard(dot)org if you find inaccuracies in this report.

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16 thoughts on “Samantha Green Sentenced to Life”

  1. MamaBear

    “Ms. Green, back in Feb of 2015 you violated the most basic responsibility of a parent,” said Yolo Superior Court judge David Rosenberg. “You put your child in harms way. And because of your actions your child is dead.”

    I agree with David Rosenberg on this statement.

    Nonetheless, I disagree with the sentence because it is a waste of money and nothing productive will come of it. Drug addicts and people with mental illnesses that incline them to violence are not going to cease killing their children in rages or inebriated hazes because of feared consequences. Better to rehab and relocate her with a life sentence of community volunteer work or offer a humane assisted suicide (if it were an option).

    This is a just an expensive depressing ending. At the end of the day; once she sobers – no one will mourn that baby as much as she will. And it is vaguely hypocritical to be so heavy handed in a case like this in a society that treats abortions like root canals.

    1. South of Davis

      MamaBear wrote:

      > Nonetheless, I disagree with the sentence because it is a waste of

      > money and nothing productive will come of it.

      Just yesterday I read an article about a homeless 48 year old lady in SF “Born to drug-addicted parents” who after “stumbling through a chaotic life” ended up with “12 children”.

      I don’t think many of those 12 kids are looking forward to going “home for the holidays” to visit Mom in her tent and I’m betting that most (probably all) have been “stumbling through a chaotic life” like their Mom.

      I’m generally not a fan of locking people up for a long time, but if Rees spends even some of her child bearing years behind bars maybe she won’t kill any more of her kids and/or make better choices in partners when she is older and gets out of jail.


      1. Tia Will


        If our intent is to protect future children that she might have, a much more cost effective means would be to allow her to opt for voluntary sterilization or more compassionately a regularly checked IUD. That would save the state the costs of incarceration and still give the desired protection. From the statement of Judge Rosenburg about the confines of her mind ( as though he is telling her something she does not already know) is a clear indication that the goal is to impose punishment rather than to protect anyone.


        1. South of Davis

          Tia wrote:

          > a much more cost effective means would be to allow her to opt

          > for voluntary sterilization or more compassionately a regularly

          > checked IUD.

          I’m all for giving men and women who have shown that they are not good parents and are facing jail time to take a deal where they agree to be sterilized and get no or reduced jail time (this would be a “choice” and we would not have the state “forcing” anyone to do this).  Can courts make deals like this today (I read something a while back that they were not allowed to do it).

          P.S. I bet this guy would not have 30 kids if a judge made a deal with him for a snip snip after he stopped paying child support on his 10th kid…


  2. Barack Palin

    What exactly is 15 to life?

    Does she have to serve at least 15 years then it comes down to the parole board whether to release her or not?

    Can she serve less than 15 with good behavior.


  3. MamaBear

    And she should be fixed… as should all violent criminals who have already conceived at least 1 child. Nonetheless, 12 kids is a lot… Odds are in favor that at least one may live a worthwhile existence. You never know. And sometimes greatness skips a generation. I don’t believe children should be condemned nor praised based on the failures and achievements of their parents. Although both happen often. Shouldn’t be.

    Most people would choose to live if they had a choice, even if born at a low.

  4. Tia Will


    sometimes greatness skips a generation. “

    I don’t know if …”greatness skips a generation”. But I do know that in utero effects and early childhood learned behaviors rarely do. It is of interest to me that Mr. Couzens chose to use the fact that Ms. Greens parents were addicts as a weapon against her concluding that she had knowledge to the harmful effects of meth use. What he chose not to present is evidence of how in utero exposure to drugs can cause permanent brain changes ( unknown, but highly relevant)  whether Ms. Green’s mother used during her pregnancy, or how early childhood exposure to drug use can normalize this behavior for the individual. These factors were not presented by Mr. Couzens to a panel of jurors who doubtless were selected at least in part for their lack of knowledge and insight into the complicated illness that is drug abuse and addiction.

    Also clearly known, but not mentioned by Mr. Couzens was the knowledge of the father of the baby who should at least be charged with child neglect and or endangerment since he knew ( according to his testimony) that Ms. Green was in a compromised mental state and still left his infant son in her care having provided the meth she used directly himself. I am still wondering if or why their are no charges against him.



    1. MamaBear

      I lack the vocabulary to avoid being misunderstood in the DV, haha. My point with that statement is that a child’s potential is not confined to their parents. And vice versa. I’ve known greatly accomplished adults whose children grow up to be potheads and worse. The reverse is also true. Although none of this really relates to this case. I was referring to another poster assuming that all 12 kids of the homeless lady grew up to be hopeless losers. it’s possible they did but maybe not. Oprah wasn’t born with a silver spoon, and she’s done okay. I am generally critical of the assumption that anyone “would have rather been aborted than…” because it’s just not true. Most people will always choose a crack at life IF they are given a choice. But a lot of people are not and so it is what it is.

      But I DO agree that this sentence is frivolously cruel. I doubt any taxpayer wants to pay to further torture a junkie who just killed her newborn child. If I ruled the world (and I clearly cant even get justice in a county, so I don’t); I’d rehab people like this and commit them to a “life sentence” of community service work sharing their story and mentoring at risk youth.

      I was never exposed to drugs in the womb thank God, but I saw how drugs affect adults and I vowed never to touch the poison. It always blows my mind when people have those firsthand accounts and still repeat mistakes… But we all do it in some aspect or another. This woman has already paid a grave price. I think the best service to the community would be for her to give some value back to the world she has deeply hurt (including herself), not lock her away.

  5. Tia Will

    This woman has already paid a grave price. I think the best service to the community would be for her to give some value back to the world she has deeply hurt (including herself), not lock her away.”

    And on this point, we are in complete agreement.


    1. hpierce

      This woman has already paid a grave price

      Did she?  or did the taxpayers pay for that?

      This is a horrific situation… to be sure.

      Let’s take $ out of the equation… the woman obviously needs ‘re-hab’/counselling… yet, should she ever be in the general public?  Ever be a parent again, or be around a child?  I truly don’t know…

      If she gets out of the prison piece, I opine that part of her parole/probation should include testing for any ‘drugs’… on a regular basis… and for ‘drugs’, I would include alcohol, MJ, along with any illegal substances… and, she might be treated similarly to a sex offender… neighborhood notifications, etc.  

      Prison, per se, will not help… it might be a “death sentence”, even in a women’s prison, because even prisoners have ‘ethics’ about certain crimes… there are prisoners who killed an abusive spouse who would not put up with infanticide…

      1. MamaBear

        You’re missing my point Hpierce. The death of the baby was preventable, but it would not have been based on the judgment call of a meth addict any more than a known suicidal violent mental case could be held liable for snapping in the care of babies. The professionals charged with exercising good judgment could  have prevented this death.

        They should be penalized criminally. Not Samantha because it delivers zero results. Had a responsible agent saw consequences for their negligence, it might prevent another similar tragedy.

        Taxpayers did not pay for Samantha to kill her baby. Taxpayers will be paying for her prison sentence. A sentence that will be very costly if the maximum (life) is seen through. Even 15 years is a lot.

        15 years will further traumatize her which means she will probably be permanently disabled if not impossibly prone to relapse upon her release. More cost.

        She’s already paid a grave price because honestly, tell me, how many tears have you shed over her dead baby? Did you call out from work? How much sleep will you lose over Samantha’s dead baby in the years to come? How much sleep with the social workers lose (not over job anxiety, but true sorrow over Rees). How much will anyone BUT Samantha replay in their heads all the imaginary scenarios of who Rees may have grown to be?

        Same can be mused for these tragic infanticides that follow awful custody rulings in dysfunctional courts.

        The lady is an addict. She is less dangerous to society than the Pedroia guy who was comparably slapped on the hand for having sex with a little boy that I doubt he thinks much of today (outside of how he was impacted socially for being caught).

        Her sentence returns very little to the community than it takes from their pockets. No return imho. She should be rehabbed and committed to helping the community. Then at least the monitorings have some reward.

        If not that, it would be more logical (and humane) to offer the woman an assisted suicide. End the tragedy already if there’s no intention of redeeming it.

        1. hpierce

          So, the meth-user/head case has no responsibility, yet society/taxpayers do?  Who is paying your side of your case? Assuming you’ll permit it to be adjudicated..

          Honest questions, looking for an honest answer…

  6. MamaBear

    Hpierce, as tempting as it is for me to reply on my own case to your remark. I wont. But I welcome your signature on my

    Or you can follow the direction of “proud papa” who replied to one of the articles on my case and check out “his side of the story” here:

    (Although that is “his side of the story” with  one of  his other baby mamas, not me)

    First point to consider – an addict who has killed her child this way isn’t going to be held accountable by going to prison. Firstly, her story is sad. Inmates will side with her against the professionals that failed her and her baby. She may get a few grunts initially but there will be enough women willing to discern the truth, that she will be unharmed.

    She will never be sober. I am guessing many inmates are not. She’ll spend the next many years on whatever prescirbed anti-depressants etc etc etc most closely mimic and surpass meth in potency. she will be loaded on your dime. She may even enjoy this sentence as it will leave little opportunity for her to be truly sober, mourn, reflect, and grow. No kids, no costs, and high as a kite for free with zero concerns. Isolated from society among other outcasts, her disaster will be easy to ignore… except for the emotional outbursts that will inevitably breakthrough when she needs a drug change or the dose is off.

    So if you think punishing this woman accomplishes something, you’re not even getting what you want on that angle.

    I would be first in line to endorse the harshest of penalities for anyone who hurts a child. But I don’t get a lot of gratification from penalizing a meth addict who was two weeks out of labor for failing to gauge the risks she imposed on her baby. I’d feel a lot more vindicated by seeing the social service agents face some real consequences. They knew better. Samantha was in a cracked out dream. Deplorable surely, but again – 2nd only to Rees Samantha is the one who will suffer most for what she has done… if she is ever sober. Something she will NOT be in prison.

    Good day to you.

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