By Esha Kher
SACRAMENTO, CA – It was a very emotional sentencing hearing at Sacramento County Superior Court as defendant Kira Collins late last week pleaded guilty to child neglect and grave bodily injury resulting in death of victim “Baby R.”
Four immediate family members of the late one-year old presented heart wrenching statements of victim impact couched with grief, but more of anger toward California’s Proposition 57 and the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office for its negligence in delivering a fit sentence.
In displaying negligence toward “Baby R” despite knowing she had been experiencing symptoms of shaken baby syndrome and not calling 911 when observing weird behavior which ultimately lead to her death, Kira Collins plead guilty to an amended felony complaint that she did in fact willfully and unlawfully produced great bodily harm and death to “Baby R.”
Last week’s hearing was for the review of a pre-conviction report submitted by the probation officer and for the imposition of judgment and sentencing on a plea of a maximum of 10 years in state prison for Collins.
Deputy District Attorney Catrina Ranum opened by playing a brief slideshow displaying some fond memories of “Baby R” and her family and then allowed the immediate family, including the mother, Alisha, and father, Ryan, to provide their victim impact statements.
While displaying grief and her pain of losing her child, the mother of “Baby R” expressed that she doesn’t believe a 10-year sentence is enough and wants lifetime imprisonment for Collins who committed homicide, she charged.
“Not calling 911 that day and putting ‘Baby R’ down because she was acting funny is the same thing as homicide. She knew something was wrong and let her slowly die. She murdered our child,” Alisha expressed.
Further, she said that even if the negligence charges were enhanced with additional bodily harm charges to make it 10 years, California’s Prop. 57 makes enhanced sentences virtually meaningless by its elimination of the requirement that defendants serve the enhanced portion of the sentence, allowing for a potentially earlier parole consideration.
“The system has failed us. Kira is charged today with child neglect resulting in death with an apparent meaningless enhancement of grave bodily injury resulting in death thanks to Prop. 57,” said Alisha.
In addition, the father expressed disapproval for Prop. 57’s provision that allows the department of corrections to award more credit to inmates, potentially moving up their parole date and expresses that this is what Collins will likely do in prison.
“She [Collins] deceived my wife, she deceived me, and she’s going to deceive people in prison, she’s going to get those credits and when they get to the parole board, she’s going to get out and not serve anywhere close to the amount she should be serving. This is not a strict punishment, this is a slap,” Ryan emphasized.
Instead, he called for Collins to serve four years and Collins to be called a violent felon according to what was California Law prior to Prop. 57.
“She [Collins] should have to serve 85 percent of her sentence and not be able to get off on a half time potentially because of sentence enhancement,” Ryan added.
“Is that what we want the memory of our daughter to be, just another case to not fight for. And for what? Because it’s just an easier notch for the district attorney’s office, the chance that it might lose in trial because there might be that one juror that says ‘nope, not guilty.’ Why does the criminal justice system have to go against our victims?” expressed Ryan.
Before submitting, DDA Ranum made a final statement that the district attorney’s office could not bring about the exposure needed to prove elevated charges beyond a reasonable doubt and that the current charges represent on the totality of evidence the maximum exposure that they could lawfully bring with regard to this crime.
Note: The judge delivered his opinion to the court but was not live streamed.
Esha Kher is an undergraduate student at UC Davis studying Political Science and Computer Science hoping to pursue a career in corporate law. She is passionate about legal journalism and political advocacy that provokes new perspectives and sparks conversation among the public.
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