Changes to California’s “Three Strikes” Law

by kiernanh on December 17, 2012

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On November 6, 2012 California voters passed Proposition 36 to amend the “Three Strikes and You’re Out,” or more commonly known as the “Three Strikes” law. The Three Strikes law was approved by state voters in 1994 and became one of the harshest sentencing punishments in the United States. The law allowed Californians two violent or nonviolent offenses, and the third would send them to prison for life. The third offense could have been anything from assault, to writing a bad check, to stealing a candy bar from the grocery store.

Proposition 36 passed with an overwhelming majority vote of 69.3 percent. The 2012 reform of the law states that there will no longer be a mandatory 25-years-to-life sentence for offenders whose third strike is not a serious or violent felony. The proposition also authorizes re-sentencing for offenders who are currently serving life sentences if their third strike was not serious or violent. Approximately 3,000 convicted felons who were serving a life term under the law became eligible for a reduced sentence. This could potentially save the state of California between $150 and $200 million every year.

The law, however, may continue to impose a life sentence penalty if the third conviction was “non-serious” or “non-violent” but poses a threat to the public, or if prior convictions were for rape, murder or child molestation. If you have been accused of committing a crime, contact a successful and experienced criminal attorney in your area for a free legal consultation.




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