In California, and throughout the rest of the nation, legislatures are updating the laws and sentencing structures of their Three Strikes rules, often making them more rigid. Below are some updates on activities in and out of California that are changing the laws regarding Three Strikes legislation:
- There was an effort this year in California, where a local group of families gathered signatures to try and get a measure on the November ballot that would amend California's Three Strikes Law. The main difference in the amended version is sentencing for those who commit a non-violent or non-serious offense as their third strike. Persons whose third strikes are non-violent or non-serious will be eligible for re-sentencing, rather than life in prison.
- Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill that will strengthen the state's Three Strikes law to include felony offenses from other states. This means that Californians now have to be aware of laws in other states regarding Three Strikes, not just California.
- In Connecticut, the Judiciary Committee voted against one Three Strikes proposal, by a 25-16 vote, that called for mandatory life sentences for third time offenders.
- Last year in Ohio, the senate had hearings on a bill that would permit judges to lock up repeat felons for twice as long as current law allows. Judges could hand down maximum sentences without explanation for a second offense in any felony case. And criminals headed to prison for at least the third time could see their time doubled under a so-called Three Strikes provision.
- States, such as Indiana, are applying Three Strikes sentencing structures to immigration infractions for both individuals and companies.
- Foreign entities, including Canada, France and the European Union are all considering variations on "Three Strikes" sentencing rules.
If you are seeking counsel on a Three Strikes felony violation, contact the attorneys at Kestenbaum, Eisner & Gorin, LLP.
Tagged as: three strikes laws
Comments:Justin Wedell on December 1, 2009 at 4:59 p.m. wrote:
I am in whole-hearted support of efforts to adjust current three strikes standards. It is an unfortunate symptom of the current system that mandatory sentences based upon strikes will often not fit the crimes. An example of the extraordinary lengths to which such sentencing can go is found in the realm of graffiti. An individual with a clean record might receive a slap on the wrists or minor reprieve for carrying a can of spray paint or a marker. A repeat offender however, who happens to find his second or third strike to be a graffiti charge, could face up to 11 years in prison. Excessive? I’d think so. The problem seems to be one of “remembered patterns” within the minds of prosecutors. Seemingly jaded by the system, many, such as Los Angeles Deputy DA Paul Minnetian, believe that such mandatory punishments fit not only the crime, “but the criminal’s background.” In the mind of the prosecutor then, the crime of the moment is blended with the crimes of the past – an error of logic that I was taught to believe is meant to be excluded from our trial system. The Judiciary Committee of Connecticut should be applauded for being able to stand by justice and the very principles upon which our system is based. The punishment should fit the crime. Anything else is symptomatic of a system at odds with its espoused aims of fairness. Ours should be a system that, like the very Constitution from which it’s derived, should be malleable according to context, adjusting itself for the best and most positive administration of justice.
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