On Thursday, September 27, families of victims of double murderer Daniel Marsh will assemble at the California capitol to urge Governor Jerry Brown to veto Senate Bill 1391, an amendment to the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016, also known as Proposition 57. That measure barred the prosecution of juveniles as adults, whatever the gravity of their crime. The measure applied to criminals aged 16 and 17, which SB 1391 lowers to ages 14 and 15. If this measure becomes law, anyone of that age could commit murder and serve only until age 25.
In 2013, Marsh was only 15 when he murdered an elderly couple 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. Committing the crime at age 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.
Two years later, in 2016, Prop 57 passed, but this year an appeal court applied it retroactively to Marsh and reversed his conviction pending a “transfer hearing.” In effect, this hearing a new trial, with no new exculpatory evidence, all for a convicted murderer who has never shown the slightest remorse and clearly poses danger to the public. If Marsh is judged suitable for juvenile court, he would be re-sentenced as a juvenile and face maximum punishment of incarceration until age 25. If outgoing governor Jerry Brown signs SB 1391, that will surely emerge in the “transfer hearing,” for Marsh, which starts October 1 in Yolo County. Call it the injustice inherent in the system.
Meanwhile families of those killed by juvenile murderers are also rallying in Colusa County with banners reading “Colusa County Stands For Victim Rights.”
K. Lloyd Billingsley is a Policy Fellow at the Independent Institute and a columnist at The Daily Caller.