The Three-Strikes Law has three different components. Just like marriage, driving, and educational laws the Three-Strikes law has its own version in every state. Unfortunately California’s Three-Strikes law is causing the most controversy. The three parts in California’s law are the defendant’s record of prior convictions, the current charge and the minimum punishment the defendant is facing. A man or woman has to be convicted of two felonies and charged with another one before the Three-Strikes law can come into play. Dictionary.com defines a felony as “an offense, as murder or burglary, of graver character than those called misdemeanors, especially those commonly punished in the U.S. by imprisonment for more than a year” (Brauchli).
The first strike that someone has on their record has to be from a serious or violent crime. Some of the controversy derives from what the law considers a serious offense. The second strike happens when there was a prior conviction that was a violent or serious crime. When a suspect is facing his or her second strike the required time is doubled. For example, if the court gave someone seven years for a felony, they would receive fourteen years. When a person receives their third strike on their record with any felony conviction their time jumps up to twenty-five to life. The offender can not receive parole until eighty percent or twenty years of their time is served (Brauchli).
A considerable amount of people have received a twenty-five to
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The 3 Strikes Crime Law gives court system all across the nation unwavering power to inflict harsh sentencing laws on non-violent criminals. The 8th Amendment protects people from being subjected to cruel and unusual punishment, however, the 3 Strikes Crime Law allows States Courts to punish non-violent criminals just as severely as violent criminals. Many criminals with non-violent, non-serious crimes who have been sentenced under the harsh 3 Strikes Crime Law have appealed their cases and were denied reevaluation by the Supreme Court. The 3 Strikes Crime Law allows the court system to punish criminals based off of the amount of crimes they have committed, rather than the severity. When considering who this law affects it can be extremely unnerving, and often seems cruel.
As the name suggests, a criminal would have to have been convicted 2 times previously to be charged with the three strikes law. It also insinuated that these repeat offenders would be “violent” offenders as well. However, that was not always the case.
The state of Washington passed the first three strikes law in 1993. Anyone convicted of three separate violent felonies must be sentenced to life in prison without a chance for parole. Then on March 8th, 1994, California followed by enacting the law that sanctioned a sentence of 25 years to life for a third felony conviction. Contrary to Washington, the California law counts nonviolent felonies, such as burglary and theft as “strike” offences; by 2001, over 50,000 criminals had been penalized under the new law, far more than any other state, with almost a quarter of the prisoners facing a minimum of 25 years
The “three strikes and you’re out” law is in effect in different states around the country. In basic terms, the law requires that any offender that is convicted of three violent crimes must receive a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. The law is aimed at reducing crime by focusing on the small percentage of criminals that commit the majority of violent crimes and felonies. Many systems have been lenient with repeat offenders, allowing
In conclusion, the three strikes law will surely always be a policy that will be scrutinized by those affected by it. In the state of Texas, perhaps the policy should be looked at and amended as it has been in place since the 1950’s. Society has changed drastically since the advent of the law in Texas; many will argue that it has changed for the worse and the policy in needed more now than when it was implemented. It is this writers opinion that the policy serves a greater purpose, but could also be amended and made better by the great men and women we have in place in our criminal justice system. This great state must always strive to become even greater, and part of that comes from looking at policies that have been in place for decades
The Law has caused a huge controversial debate and there are people that personally disagree with the law. As in any controversial debate you would have the affirmative and the negative side. Let’s explore some of the positive facts that the Three Strikes Law that support the affirmative side. To start of with one popular note is that it keeps the career criminals, individuals who commit crime as a part of their lives, off the streets. Of course we want to keep the sex offenders, murderers, and rapist, off the street so we can worry that much less for the safety of ourselves and others. Another positive is that it is a deterrent. It is a very effective deterrent after the second conviction (Mersseli). If an offender is released from the second conviction, this law will deter them from any crime, whether it is minor or not. The thought of being sent to prison for 25 years to life is a pretty effective deterrent and will have that offender thinking more than twice before he or she will commit another crime.
According to President Bill Clinton, “We have a chance to pass the toughest, the smartest crime bill in the history of the United States,” and this was the California residents ' belief at the time the Three Strikes and you’re out law took effect in 1994.The purpose of the Three Strikes Law is to punish habitual offenders upon receiving their third conviction of any felony. Initially, if an individual receives a serious or violent felony conviction, this is a first strike; subsequently, the second serious or violent felony charge is a second strike and the individual will serve double the time originally assessed for the first felony. Finally, upon the third felony conviction an individual receives a minimum sentence of twenty five to life in prison. Even though twenty-three states, including the federal government, several politicians such as, Senator Bob Dole, and President Bill Clinton supported the passage of the Three Strikes Law. Undoubtedly, the Three Strikes bandwagon happened during a time in society when fear of crime was at its peak; as a result, law enforcement and other government officials went to the extreme in promising citizens to end habitual crime. Therefore, if the Three Strikes Law is to be a fair and impartial punishment for all criminals’ committing serious and violent crimes; then the crime committed must fit the consequences. Thus, is it fair to condemn a man who has two previous serious felonies for stealing a one dollar item on his third offense,
Does California’s three strikes law defy the law of the eighth amendment prohibiting the against cruel and usual punishment? In the case of Ewing v. California this question is put to the test when a man is sentence 25 years to life because of the “three strikes you 're out” policy.
The purpose of the Three Strikes Law is to reduce serious or violent crime rates and provide a means to practice racial disparity in sentencing. The law is also intended to give longer sentences to offenders who are convicted three times. Usually, the first and second convictions result in punishment, but of a more routine appeal. Justice James A. Ardaiz, the Fifth Appellate District of California explained,
There are also constitutional issues with three-strikes. The most obvious being that the law is a form a cruel and unusual punishment. Under the law, someone like Albert would face life in prison at age seventeen; life imprisonment for a seventeen-year-old seems cruel and unusual by most standards, making three-strikes-and-you're-out unconstitutional. The principle of proportionality that the punishment should not be more than is merited by the crime is also violated. Three-strikes also violates the principle of punishment for specific offenses. The government can only punish criminals for specific crimes they commit. Three-strikes, on the other hand, does not punish for a specific crime but instead establishes an arbitrary standard that judges the person. It does not punish a criminal for specific offenses but for general past behavior. The last constitutional difficulty with this law is that it violates separation of powers by putting sentencing jurisdiction in the hands of the prosecutor.
Reserved for those who previously committed serious or violent felonies the three-strike law states that the most severe prison terms. In general, California law defines violent felonies as those that cause injury to the victim or threaten the victim with a deadly weapon (for example, murder and voluntary manslaughter, mayhem, most forcible sexual offenses, and some categories of robbery, assault, and burglary). Serious felonies include all violent felonies, plus others where there is a potential for injury to the victim (for example, arson and the remaining categories of robbery, assault, and burglary).
Along side this definition, there are are laws in place specifically for career criminals, or repeat offenders. Laws like The Armed Career Criminal Act of 1984 (ACCA) which, at its core, is a federalized version of the Three Strike Rule. The ACCA differs from the three strike law in that it was drafted mainly for criminals who commit crimes involving the use of firearms. The law mandates a minimum sentence of fifteen years after the third conviction for felons of violent felonies or drug offense. The seriousness of previous convictions is not taken into account when giving a third sentencing however. For instance, if a felon was convicted, three times, for possession of illegal substance but, for his fourth arrest, is convicted of possessing an illegal firearm, will have to serve a minimum of fifteen years based on the ACCA. Because of this, people ridicule the law for being too harsh on criminals.
Mandatory minimums and three strike laws, are they really the answer to the crime problem America has faced for years? Many would say yes, including me, as long as it is for a violent crime such as murder, rape or arson; some feel that even theft, drug trafficking or possession, and burglary are all worthy of the 25-to-life sentence that can be carried under the mandatory minimums for three strike laws. A three-strike law is a law that states that you will be sentenced to 25years to life for three violations and convictions of a law. Where the three strike laws have mandatory sentences, mandatory sentences aren’t always tied in with three strike laws. A mandatory minimum is a law that requires someone
To further help reduce the likelihood of recidivism among previously convicted individuals, the justice department of the United States government in conjunction with willing state governments, has implemented the policy of progressively more severe punishments. Known as the system of “strikes” as Vogel (2003, p.32) writes, “the system punishes each subsequent crime for which one is convicted more severely than the last even if the crimes are the same, with the third strike earning an offender anything between 25 years in prison or life sentence depending on the gravity of the offence”. Such policies have helped reduce the incentives for individuals to engage in criminal acts with Zagar, Grove and Busch (2013, p.390) pointing out that, the Three Strikes Law in California, since its introduction, has reduced the rates of recidivism by as much as 22% and saved the state billions that would have incurred in such subsequent incarcerations. Certain states also have parole policies that bar parolees from associating with other convicted felons and engaging in crimes and transgression. Such policies, upon violation of parole conditions, prescribe the forfeiture of an individual’s parole and completion of the sentence for which they were paroled and any other sentence that may be handed to them for whichever other offence they commit.