A California judge refuses to recall the death sentence of Polly Klaas' killer

 May 31, 2024

A California judge refused to recall the death sentence of a murderer who was seeking to use the state's newly relaxed sentencing laws to his advantage, the Associated Press reported. Richard Allen Davis was convicted in 1996 in the kidnapping and killing of 12-year-old Polly Klaas.

Polly was asleep in her Petaluma bedroom in October 1993 when Davis abducted her knifepoint. Two other children were present for a sleepover while Polly's mother slept in another room.

Davis kidnapped Polly, murdered her, and placed her body in a shallow grave. He was tried and convicted for the crimes of first-degree murder with "special circumstances" for attempting a lewd act on a child, kidnapping, robbery, and burglary.

The criminal was on parole when he killed Polly and would serve as the impetus for the "three strikes" law passed in 1994. This law set stiffer penalties for repeat offenders and was passed by both voters and lawmakers.

A Changing Landscape

Following the implementation of the "three strikes" rule, a man like Davis, who had a rap sheet dating back to the 1970s that included killing and abduction, would be locked away or put to death. Unfortunately, leftists are chipping away at that tough-on-crime stance.

California has effectively eliminated the death penalty after Gov. Gavin Newsom's 2019 moratorium on executions. The California Democrat said the death penalty was "a failure" and discriminatory to minorities, the poor, and the mentally ill.

In February, attorneys for Davis cited another change to the way California imposes sentencing and asked for his death sentence to be recalled. They used an unprecedented argument that the new law allowed sentencing with enhancements to be reevaluated.

The convicted murderer's lawyers were attempting to apply the 2022 law to get Davis off the hook. Sonoma County Deputy District Attorney Sarah Brooks argued that they incorrectly used that statute and that it would undermine the state's case against the criminal.

Brooks called their request a "collateral attack on the 1996 conviction and sentence to death." On Friday, Judge Benjamin Williams agreed with Brooks and denied Davis' petition Friday.

A Short-Term Win for Justice

Following Williams' decision, Polly Klaas' father, Marc Klaas, celebrated continued justice for the criminal who killed his daughter. The grieving father and several other supporters donned Klaas Kids Foundation T-shirts or buttons with Polly's photo.

Marc Klaas said he was pleased with the way Williams and Brooks handled his daughter's killer. "Our judge and our prosecutor were so decisive in their arguments and in their decision that there’s really no place for this guy to go except to hell, of course," he said.

However, the fact that this monster's fate was ever in question is part of a troubling trend in The Golden State. No inmate has been executed in California since 2006, even after voters approved a 2016 measure to expedite executions.

It seems California is finding new ways each year to give criminals a break. The 2020 California Racial Justice Act is perhaps the most sweeping and egregious example as it would allow cases to be relitigated when criminals felt they were the victims of racial prejudice along the way, the Wall Street Journal reported.

David should not be let out to re-offend as he was before Polly's murder. The people who routinely side with criminals like this are disgraceful, but at least Friday's decision has upheld the well-deserved punishment of this man.

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