An Orange County man was granted a release from a state prison where he had been serving 25 years to life after being convicted of a third “strike” offense back in 1999. Robert Rudy Lozano, who is now 48 years old, had previously been convicted of voluntary manslaughter in 1985 after beating a man to death with a baseball bat following an argument, as well as first-degree burglary and second-degree robbery in 1992. Lozano was convicted in 1999 of the unlawful taking of a vehicle, but had been arrested multiple times since 1984, when he was first arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance. Lozano has had multiple misdemeanor convictions for drug offenses, and had also recently tested positive for morphine, in spite of the fact that he is incarcerated. Under the state’s “Three Strikes” legislation, Lozano had been sentenced to a minimum of 25 years in prison after his 1999 conviction, but Proposition 36, a ballot initiative which was passed in 2012, allows some of the people affected by the three strikes laws to petition for release if their third strikes were not considered a serious or violent crime. Lozano had petitioned for release earlier this year under Proposition 36, but his request had been denied. Lozano petitioned a second time more recently citing poor health as he suffers from hepatitis C and had been diagnosed with end-stage liver disease. Lozano claimed that he had taken the morphine to combat the pain from his illnesses and had been prescribed the drug, which is a powerful pain medication, by doctors while in prison. The approval of Proposition 36 by voters last year is sure to send shockwaves through the California criminal justice world for quite some time. The Orange County District Attorney’s office alone has received more than 100 petitions for the release of prison inmates since it was passed. Tough Three Strikes legislation passed in the mid-1990s allowed for people convicted of three eligible offenses to be punished with life in prison. One of the provisions of Three Strikes laws included enhanced penalties for repeat offenders, meaning that seemingly less significant criminal convictions such as theft that would not normally have been considered a strike offense were bumped up to strike-level offenses for anyone with a prior strike conviction. The overall effect of this is that many, many people ended up being sentenced to life in one of the state’s infamously overcrowded and underserved prison facilities. Proposition 36 seeks to address some of that unfairness and release certain people if their third strike conviction meets certain criteria.
Tagged as: california three strikes law, theft, three strikes laws
California Three Strikes laws can ruin a person's life if they don't have a qualified Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer representing them. The California Three Strikes laws were designed to lower the crime rate, but they have largely damaged the lives of low-level offenders, and punished people guilty of misdemeanors with decades in prison.
Tyrone Hartsfield was found guilty last week of attempted first-degree murder in the shooting of Jacksonville Jaguar’s football star Richard Collier in 2008. Hartsfield, who has six prior felony convictions and has twice served time in Florida state prisons, was accused of shooting Collier six times while he sat in his Cadillac Escalade outside a Jacksonville apartment building. As a result of the shooting, Collier is now paralyzed from the waist down and has had his left leg amputated. Hartsfield had previously testified during the trial that he had had no involvement in the shooting. Prosecutors in the case believe Hartsfield shot Collier in retaliation after being knocked out in a physical altercation with Collier in a nightclub nearly eight months earlier. The jury deliberated for just under three hours before returning their guilty verdict to end the nine-day trial. Hartsfield, who is facing life in prison, is scheduled to be sentenced in December.
While this crime occurred in Florida, Los Angeles laws are also very strict in dealing with crimes such as attempted murder. Prosecutors in Los Angeles must prove that a defendant acted with deliberate, intentional and reckless or extreme disregard for human life. That may sound vague, but in simpler terms, the prosecution must show that the defendant either intended to kill someone or inflict injuries so severe that they most likely would have resulted in death. In Los Angeles, Hartsfield would also most likely be facing a life in prison sentence as he has had six prior felony convictions. In the state of California, certain felony crimes count as “strikes" under California Three Strikes laws, meaning that if a person has committed and been convicted of at least three eligible felonies, they are nearly always sent straight to a state prison for a life sentence, with very few possibilities of parole. Three Strikes laws were designed to deal harshly with repeat violent criminal offenders.
If you have been charged with a violent crime, or if you are in danger of being convicted under a California Three Strikes law, call the Los Angeles criminal defense attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP today. Defending against such serious criminal charges can be difficult and complicated, but we have the courtroom experience in defending against criminal charges of all types.
Tagged as: california three strikes law, los angeles criminal defense attorney
Kestenbaum Eisner & Gorin LLP has been recognized as one of the best U.S. law firms, based on the experience, professionalism, and ethics of its criminal defense lawyers and attorneys. We aggressively defend clients in all Southern California courtrooms on state and federal charges, including DUI, DMV, misdemeanor, felony, juvenile cases, in the following communities and courthouses.