Synopsis by Mark Deming
In 1994, after 12-year-old Polly Klaas was killed by kidnapper Richard Allen Davis, the State of California proposed a repeat-offender law that mandated a life sentence after any criminal's third felony conviction; it was passed that year by an overwhelming margin. The measure was highly controversial, and The Legacy: Murder and Media, Politics and Prisons explores the views of both supporters and opponents of the bill. Surprisingly, several members of the Klaas family speak out against the bill, which they feel was drawn too broadly, and suggest Polly's tragedy was being used for the political gain of others; Joe Klaas, Polly's grandfather, at one point states "It's obscene to equate stealing a stereo with stealing a child."
bill [proposed law], controversy, conviction, criminal, justice, kidnapping, life-sentence, media-circus, murder, political-pressure, recidivism, sentence [penal system]