California Crime News Local News

Death Row Inmate Tried to Get His Death Sentence Overturned Citing New Law; Judge Denies and Upheld Death Sentence in California

Death Row Inmate Tried to Get His Death Sentence Overturned Citing New Law; Judge Denies and Upheld Death Sentence in California

A California judge has rejected a petition to overturn the death sentence of Richard Allen Davis. Davis infamously kidnapped 12-year-old Polly Klaas from her bedroom at knifepoint in 1993, a crime that deeply impacted the nation.

In 1996, jurors reached a verdict of guilty for Davis on charges of first-degree murder, as well as the “special circumstances” of kidnapping, burglary, robbery, and attempting a lewd act on a child. Davis had a long history of kidnapping and assault dating back to the 1970s and was on parole when the tragic abduction and killing of the child occurred. A grim fate awaited him.

In a court filing made in February, Davis’ attorneys presented an argument for recalling his death sentence. They pointed to recent changes in California sentencing laws that have eliminated certain sentencing enhancements. In addition, they mentioned California’s existing moratorium on the death penalty. In 2019, California Gov.

Gavin Newsom implemented a moratorium on executions, stating that the death penalty has proven to be ineffective and has resulted in discrimination against individuals who are mentally ill, belong to minority communities, or lack the financial means to afford proper legal representation. There is potential for a future governor to alter that policy.

In a recent court filing, the Sonoma County District Attorney’s Office dismissed the arguments put forth by Davis’ attorneys as “nonsensical.” They firmly stated that the laws being cited by the defense do not apply to Davis’ death sentence for the murder of Polly Klaas.

During the court proceedings, Deputy District Attorney Sarah Brooks of Sonoma County pointed out that Davis’ attorneys were misinterpreting a recently enacted law. This law, passed in 2022, pertains to the reevaluation of sentences for individuals whose punishments were affected by special enhancements. According to her, their petition was seen as a direct challenge to the 1996 conviction and death sentence.

Judge Benjamin Williams sided with prosecutors and rejected the petition. According to him, defense attorneys were seeking to overturn the punishment phase of the trial instead of requesting a resentencing for Davis. Davis was absent during the hearing.

In October 1993, Davis tragically took Polly Klaas from her bedroom in Petaluma, a town located 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of San Francisco, and ended her life by strangling her. That evening, she and two friends had a sleepover while her mother slept in a room nearby.

A nationwide search was initiated by thousands of volunteers after the girl went missing. Two months later, Davis was apprehended by authorities and cooperated in guiding them to the discovery of the child’s remains. The body was located in a shallow grave approximately 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of her residence in Sonoma County.

The case played a significant role in California’s adoption of a “three strikes” law in 1994, which imposed longer sentences for repeat offenders. The proposal received approval from both lawmakers and voters.

Bad Breath Rapist Arrested in California after 16 Years on the Run; Girlfriend Knew Nothing About Him Despite 15 Years of Relationship

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *