Letter: LWOP Is a Death Sentence

Photo by Larry Farr on Unsplash

Give Stanley Bernard Davis a Chance for Parole!

By the Drop LWOP Coalition

On September 1, 2021 Stanley Bernard Davis, a Black man who was sentenced to the death penalty in 1989, was resentenced to Life Without Parole (LWOP).   Prosecutors in the L.A. District Attorney’s office accepted a habeas corpus petition from Mr. Davis which demonstrated that he had an intellectual disability and therefore was legally ineligible for the death penalty.

An LWOP sentence is just another form of the death penalty, condemning Mr. Davis to death by incarceration.  The same criteria that disqualify Mr. Davis for the death penalty should be applicable to his LWOP sentence. After serving over three decades in prison and finally demonstrating that his sentence was faulty, Mr. Davis should be given a chance to appear before the Parole Board so that they can determine his eligibility for parole.

The  Los Angeles D.A.’s office opposes the death penalty because of its racial bias. The racism of LWOP sentencing is even more stark than that of the death penalty. 68% of those serving LWOP in California are Black and Latinx.  62% of those sentenced to LWOP are younger than 25.  Mr. Davis was 23 when he committed his offense.  LWOP sentences reflect a tough-on-crime culture that was rampant in the 1980’s and 1990’s.  Such extreme sentences have no place in a twenty-first century society that is trying to move away from mass incarceration.

When death sentences are overturned, LWOP resentencing should not be the default. Stanley Bernard Davis’ claim of an intellectual disability has been vindicated after over thirty years of wasted litigation on the part of the state of California.  Mr. Davis should not have to spend the rest of his life in prison without a chance to demonstrate his rehabilitation. He should be given a life with the possibility of parole sentence and the chance to go to the Parole Board!


About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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One thought on “Letter: LWOP Is a Death Sentence”

  1. Keith Olsen

    Readers may want to know, these are the crimes Stanley Bernard Davis was convicted of since they weren’t included in the article.  

    Stanley Bernard Davis, now 60, was sentenced to death in 1989 for the Sept. 30, 1985, killings of UCLA freshman Michelle Ann Boyd, 18, and Cal State Northridge sophomore Brian Harris, 20.

    The two were abducted in Westwood and found dead in a field near a high school on Mulholland Drive. They had both been shot in the head.
    Jurors found true the special circumstance allegations of multiple murder, murder during the commission of a robbery and murder during the commission of kidnapping for robbery.
    The jury also convicted Davis of robbery and kidnapping for robbery of the two students, along with grand theft auto and arson of Harris’ car and the May 27, 1984, kidnapping and robbery of a male UCLA student in Westwood.

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