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Let's get serious: three strikes law(2 posts)

Let's get serious: three strikes lawmr_spin
Nov 5, 2001 4:46 PM
Warning: this is somewhat of a rant

Every once in a while, we get the shocking headline "Man sentenced to life for stealing a slice of pizza." Of course, everyone goes "What? How can that be?"

It's the three strikes law. Get convicted of three felonies and you do hard time. I think it's great, and the media loves to create totally misleading headlines like the one above, which I have seen for real more than once.

So, what does it take to get three strikes? Simple. You have to be convicted of three felonies. For most people, that's hard to do. Here are step by step instructions:

1. Commit a felony.
2. Get caught.
3. Don't plead out to a misdemeanor
4. Get convicted by a jury
5. Repeat three times.

Recently California threw out a 50-to-life sentence for a guy convicted of shoplifting. Yes, Shoplifting. That's how the headline read. As if shoplifting were a victimless crime.

Here's the real story. He was arrested in 1995 for twice stealing videotapes. He also had seven past convictions including three 1983 residential burglaries.

That seems like a pattern of crime to me. I don't care what he is stealing--cars or pizza. He can't stop stealing. And the "residential burglaries?" This guy is inside people's homes, which luckily didn't turn into violent crimes. And remember, these are just the things he was caught and convicted for. With this many convictions, you have to wonder how many other things did he get away with?

The next time you see a headline about someone going away for life for stealing a slice of pizza, read the whole article and find out what else the guy did. I'll bet you won't be too unhappy.
My 2 cents....DINOSAUR
Nov 5, 2001 8:01 PM
Some misdemeanors turn into felonies if you have a prior conviction of a felony.

The main problem I have with the three strikes law is that it clogs up the court system with jury trials as defendants have no choice but to go to trial as there is no plea bargaining.

The second problem I have is that it gives judges no digression when passing down punishment. It's all in black and white with no loop holes.

On the other hand the reason the law was passed is because of judges that were too lenient with their sentences. The most common is drunk drivers with prior convictions.

I've seen over zelous D.A.'s who go overboard and want to put people away for first time offenses and I've seen namby pamby D.A.'s who chuck out cases because they misread a police report and don't go to the trouble of contacting the arresting officer.

The trouble is the court systems are too clogged down and over loaded. They are nothing but paper mills. It takes forever and a day for a case to go to trial.

But we still have the best justice system in the world. China doesn't have a third strikes law, they just execute them. Saves time and money but I like our system better, inefficient as it is.