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View Diary: Vote No on California Proposition 36: Three Strikes Law (26 comments)

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  •  You haven't read the actual law, have you? (5+ / 0-)

    Its pretty clear you have the wrong idea about how this law works, and unfortunately many voters are similarly misinformed.  You say:

    A serious or violent felon, if convicted of a new felony, gets twice the sentence. A two-time serious or violent felon, if convicted of a new felony, gets life.
    Nope. Nope. Nooooooooooope.

    It doesn't have to be a "serious or violent felony".  It can be any felony.  There are people serving a three strikes sentence for possessing a dime bag of meth.

    (It also isn't a life sentence on the third strike: its 25 to life. Seriously, you do not get anything right here)

    Even worse, it doesn't have to be an actual felony at all!  Under an earlier California proposition, prosecutors can elect to charge any misdemeanor as a felony.  No review by the judge, solely the prosecutor's discretion.

    And they have done this to elevate a misdemeanor to a third strike.  The dean of UC Irvine's law school, Erwin Chemerinsky, wrote a book a couple of years back detailing his involvement with one of these cases. A guy stole a bunch of videotapes of childrens' movies, on two separate occaisons. Stuffed them down his pants.  It was shoplifting.

    The d.a. decided to charge it as a felony.

    In another case, a homeless man broke in to a church and stole food.  In a third, a man took wooden pallets from behind a supermarket to make a fire on the beach.

    All are serving 25 to life.

    In no rational world does this remotely address violent crime, in no possible way is it worth it to taxpayers to spend at least $25K a year for decades to lock these men up, and in no sane calculation is this remotely just.

    People are being locked up for decades for the most petty of crimes.  For shoplifting.  For taking a few dollars worth of wood.  We're locking people up on a sentence on par with murder, because they were hungry and wanted to eat, or they were cold and tried to stay warm.

    And you are spreading misinformation about this.  Please, do some research. You're utterly, hopelessly wrong in just about every aspect of this law and its impact.

    •  You haven't read the actual law, have you? (0+ / 0-)

      Its pretty clear you have the wrong idea about how this law works, and unfortunately many voters are similarly misinformed.

      This is what the legislative analysis says:

      Three Strikes Sentencing. Proposition 184 (commonly referred to as the “three strikes” law) was adopted by voters in 1994. It imposed longer prison sentences for certain repeat offenders. Specifically, the law requires that a person who is convicted of a felony and who previously has been convicted of one or more violent or serious felonies be sentenced to state prison as follows:

      •Second Strike Offense. If the person has one previous serious or violent felony conviction, the sentence for any new felony conviction (not just a serious or violent felony) is twice the term otherwise required under law for the new conviction. Offenders sentenced by the courts under this provision are referred to as “second strikers.” As of March 2012, about 33,000 inmates were second strikers.

      •Third Strike Offense. If the person has two or more previous serious or violent felony convictions, the sentence for any new felony conviction (not just a serious or violent felony) is a life term with the earliest possible parole after 25 years. Offenders convicted under this provision are referred to as “third strikers.” As of March 2012, about 9,000 inmates were third strikers.
      While the law requires the sentences described above, in some instances the court may choose not to consider prior felonies during sentencing. When this occurs, an offender who would otherwise be sentenced as a second or third striker would be sentenced to a lesser term than required under the three strikes law.

      You are spreading misinformation about this.  Please, do some research. You're utterly, hopelessly wrong in just about every aspect of this law and its impact.

      http://mypolitikal.com/

      by Inoljt on Tue Oct 30, 2012 at 03:52:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Stig, I agree with your position on 36, but..... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Inoljt

      .....you are absolutely wrong when you say that "under an earlier California proposition, prosecutors can elect to charge any misdemeanor as a felony." I'm a criminal defense attorney and my job would be a nightmare if this was true. In California, there are felonies, misdemeanors, and wobblers, which can be charged as either felonies or misdemeanors. A prosecutor can charge a wobbler as a felony or a misdemeanor and a judge can reduce a felony wobbler to a misdemeanor. This has nothing to do with any prior voter initiative, that's just the way our penal code is written. Hundreds of crimes are straight misdemeanors, not wobblers, and prosecutors have no power to charge them as felonies.

      Also, the authors statement, that you quoted, is true. The prior strikes have to be serious or violent felonies for the doubling of the sentence (2nd strike) or 25 to life (3rd strike) can be imposed. The current felony does not have to be serious or violent and that is what Prop. 36 aims to change. I hope that adds to your understanding of the issue. You're right that we should all be voting to pass Prop. 36.

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