Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig led a press conference last Friday to announce the creation of a new coalition of survivors of violent crime whose goal is to see that victims’ rights are considered in the criminal justice system.
Speakers included family members of Oliver “Chip” Northup and his wife Claudia Maupin who were brutally murdered in their Davis home in 2013 by a 15-year-old juvenile.
Hear Us Yolo, whose motto is “Advocating for Change with Strength and Pride,” is a network of victims and survivors coming together through their experiences to have their voices heard and to advocate for victims at the local, state and national level. Lyla, a survivor of a sexual assault, said their main goal is to provide education and outreach and assist victims in finding their path to becoming survivors.
Hear Us Yolo is seeking survivors 16 and older to help educate through first-hand experiences and stand to offer support to victims.
“Victims’ voices are not being heard by people passing laws and creating budgets,” said Reisig.
Victoria Hurd, eldest daughter of Claudia Maupin, spoke against an aspect of Proposition 57, a ballot measure passing by a 64 percent to 36 percent margin in 2016 requiring judges, not prosecutors, to determine whether to charge certain juvenile offenders as adults.
The Yolo County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted Daniel Marsh as an adult and a jury convicted him in 2014 on two counts of first-degree murder with special allegations. Marsh was sentenced to 52 years to life.
In 2018, SB1391 was signed into law by then Governor Jerry Brown. It bars juveniles under the age of 16 from being prosecuted in adult court and makes them eligible for release free from oversight upon turning 25.
At the time of the committed offenses, Marsh was about two months shy of his 16th birthday. Because of that, his legal team has argued retroactively that the decision to try him as an adult should have been made by a judge, not the Yolo County District Attorney’s Office.
Oral arguments before the Third District Court of Appeal are scheduled for Aug. 18. If the judge rules the law applies to facts of Marsh’s case, he could be released upon turning 25. If not, Marsh would be entitled to a hearing every two years to determine his release eligibility.
“It falls on us. The responsibility falls on us, the victims, to keep a psychopath in jail,” said Sarah Rice, Maupin’s granddaughter. “Think about the resources needed for the DA, our prosecutors every two years.”
Yolo County Deputy District Attorney, Amanda Zambor, explained that the appeals court is ultimately ruling on finality.
“Was it final at the time SB 1391 went into effect? They are really not looking at the facts of the case but was it final procedurally and if it was final, it does not apply to him,” Zambor said. “If they find it was not final, he can only be held until his 25 birthday.”
Hear Us Yolo collaborates with Crime Victims United and other agencies to help victims become survivors. A membership form to join Hear Us Yolo is available at www.yoloda.org