November 19, 2012

Courts Must Prepare for Proposition 36 Cases

Amidst budget cuts, layoffs, attrition and the closure of courthouses and courtrooms, California is struggling to accommodate the volume of litigation on court dockets.

The passage this month of Proposition 36 is only going to add to that challenge.

Proposition 36 reforms California three strikes law so that defendants whose third strike is a nonserious or nonviolent felony cannot be sentenced to life in prison. Moreover, the amendment applies retroactively, so that many life prisoners are eligible to be re-sentenced under the new California three strikes law to a reduced prison term.

Continue reading "Courts Must Prepare for Proposition 36 Cases" »

November 14, 2012

Fighting for Freedom: Families of Three-Strikers Race for Their Release

November 6, 2012 will long be remembered among countless Californians as a day that brought renewed faith and belief in the California criminal justice system.

On this day, Proposition 36 passed thanks to overwhelming support from the voters of California.

With this measure’s passage, the state’s stringent and highly detested Three Strikes Law has finally been reformed in favor of more fair, sensible, and humane sentencing practices.

While Proposition 36 has certainly made landmark changes in the law by prohibiting judges from imposing a life sentence on most repeat offenders who commit minor crimes, this only tells half the story.

In fact, the greatest blessing from the measure’s passage undeniable relates to the nearly 3,000 inmates and their countless family members who now have a renewed sense of hope and faith in the state’s criminal justice system.

Continue reading "Fighting for Freedom: Families of Three-Strikers Race for Their Release" »

November 8, 2012

Three Strikes and You're [Possibly?] Out: California Voters Reform the Three Strikes Law

The historic passage of Proposition 36 this week has signaled a momentous change in California’s Three Strikes Law.

The measure, which passed easily with nearly 70% of the popular vote, will revise the Three Strikes Law so as to impose a life sentence only under two circumstances:

  1. When the third felony conviction is "serious or violent,'' or

  2. For a minor felony crime if the perpetrator is a murderer, rapist or child molester.

As a result of California’s existing Three Strikes Law, which allows a third strike for any felony, there have been numerous cases involving sentences arguably in violation of the 8th Amendment constitutional right against cruel and unusual punishment.

Continue reading "Three Strikes and You're [Possibly?] Out: California Voters Reform the Three Strikes Law" »