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Proposition 57, California’s 2016 Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act championed by governor Jerry Brown, expanded parole possibilities for nonviolent offenders and barred prosecutors from directly filing juvenile cases in adult court. This measure was supposed to reduce the prison population and save taxpayers money. Instead it burns up more taxpayer dollars and gives some of the worst violent offenders, including convicted murderers, a shot at early release.
Daniel Marsh was only 15 years old when he murdered Oliver Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76, in their Davis home. Marsh tortured and eviscerated both victims and left a cell phone and drinking glass inside the bodies to confuse the police. He confessed to police in a lengthy interview, and his court-appointed lawyer failed to have that tossed. He then turned to an insanity defense, which the jury rejected, though his expert witness cost taxpayers $25,000.
Marsh carefully planned the murders—committing the crime at 15 was part of his calculation to avoid the maximum penalty. He was tried as an adult and in December 2014 and sentenced to 52 years to life, with the possibility of parole after 25 years, when he would only be in his early 40s.
In November 2016, voters passed Proposition 57. In February 2018, in a case involving Pablo Lara, a juvenile who had kidnapped and raped a seven-year-old girl, the California Supreme Court ruled that Proposition 57 applied retroactively. Later that month, the Third Court of Appeal reversed the judgement against Daniel Marsh, who would get a hearing to see if it was appropriate to try him in adult court. If not, he would be re-sentenced as a juvenile and face maximum punishment of incarceration until age 25. This is clearly a new trial at taxpayer expense, with no new evidence, all for a convicted murderer who has never shown the slightest remorse and clearly poses danger to the public.
“This is so wrong,” Claudia Maupin’s daughter Victoria Hurd recently told reporters. “It’s barreling back into our presence.”
Many similar cases are in the Proposition 57 pipeline. As the Lompoc Record headlined, “Prop. 57 could turn back time for minors charged with murder.”