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December 24, 2011

Ballot proposal to reform California's three-strikes law moves forward

As reported in this local article, which is headlined "Three strikes reform advances: Language OK'd for ballot; signatures needed," a proposal to bring sentencing reform to the California voters in 2012 continues to progress.  Here are the details:

A proposed ballot measure aimed at reforming California's three strikes law has made it past an important hurdle.  Attorney General Kamala Harris' office has approved the bill's language — crafted by Stanford law professors — allowing backers to begin collecting signatures to get the measure on the June 2012 ballot.

Supporters say the measure could end up saving taxpayers $100 million per year in reduced incarceration and prosecution costs.  The proposed measure differs from past efforts to change the law that went into effect after voters approved it in 1994.

Under the three strikes law, offenders who commit serious, violent crimes can have their sentences doubled if convicted of a second "strike" and can receive 25 years to life in prison on their third strike.  The third strike, unlike the first two, does not have to be a serious or violent crime — and it is that aspect that has drawn the most criticism....

The new proposed ballot measure requires that the third strike be a serious, violent crime. The only exception is in the case of convicted murderers, rapists and child molesters, who can still be sentenced to 25 to life for less serious felonies.  The measure would also allow certain inmates convicted under non-serious third strikes to petition for re-sentencing....

More than 8,000 third strikers are serving life sentences in California, and officials estimate that one-quarter of them were convicted of non-serious, nonviolent crimes....

Proponents of the new measure, now officially titled "The Three Strikes Reform Act of 2012," must collect more than 500,000 valid signatures for it to qualify for the June ballot.

I am intrigued, and a bit puzzled, that this article talks about this three-strikes reform proposal appearing on the "June 2012 ballot" rather than on the ballot in November 2012.  This entry at Ballotpedia explains that June 2012 is when California is scheduled to have its presidential primary vote, but it also suggests that the current plan is for most ballot initiative to show up on the November 2012 ballot.  My guess is that this news report is just guessing about when this three-strikes reform proposal would come up for a vote, and I would offer the alternative guess that it is more likely to ultimately appear on the November 2012 ballot.

December 24, 2011 at 01:10 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Reform it? They need to REPEAL it. They need to repeal all mandatory minimum laws, as well as the 'guideline' rules that judges are required to follow. If someone is intelligent enough to become a judge, I'm quite certain they are intelligent enough to use empirical evidence, the differences of each case, and each person plus their actual role into account and come up with fair and reasonable sentencing.

Did you know that American Supermax prisons, where people go for life sentences I guess, are considered so inhumane by the rest of the world, that the European Court of Human Rights would NOT allow the extradition of a wanted terrorist in England to the US? They said the possibility that he would be sentenced to life without parole in one of those prisons was a violation of his human rights. A TERRORIST. Although many jail sentences in Europe seem too way too lenient to me, compared to what I am seeing in the US, they are positively logical. I don't think drug charge sentencing should be so incredibly harsh. I see pedophiles, rapists & killers released from jail more quickly than someone with a drug charge. Outrageous.

People are spending 10, 20 years on mandatory minimums, based on nothing more than testimony of someone else who is facing big time, so they will make up accusations against anybody. I don't think anyone should be sentenced based on accusations alone.

Posted by: Rebecca Olesen | Feb 7, 2012 8:22:22 AM

Oh, and I am 'none of the above'lawyer or student. I am just a person who has been interested in and following mandatory minimum sentencing laws & their effects for 20 years. 20 years ago I found out that the Mandatory Min sentencing in my home state sent a person with possession of cocaine, a small amt that would fit into a tylenol capsule-they said, would receive a mandatory minimum sentence that was the same as the MAXIMUM sentence for someone convicted of 'rape of a child'. So the rapist could not be sent away for longer, but, the guy doing some drugs couldn't be released earlier? No way.

Posted by: Rebecca Olesen | Feb 7, 2012 8:26:10 AM

I am a citizen who says that they need to fix the law. it is not right the sentences that they give. someone commets a violent crime the strike them. But the three strike law needs to be fixed . It is not being used the way it was suppose to.

Posted by: g | Feb 18, 2012 11:11:36 PM

Most crimes are considered serious. That is why they are labeled felonies. And why many will not be helped by this law and the countless future population. 3 Strike Law must be abolished. A law is only Just as it applies to one and to all peoples!

ESPECIALLY THOSE WHO ARE INCORRECTLY,UNJUSTLY CHARGED AND CONVICTED! THREE STRIKES LAW IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL IN AMERICA!

Posted by: Rose | Jul 10, 2012 12:27:38 AM

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