THE CURRENT STATUS OF CALIFORNIA'S THREE STRIKES LAW
California's Three Strikes law was enacted in 1994 in an effort to keep murderers and rapists off the streets. The law mandated that a defendant convicted of any felony with two, or more, prior strikes would receive a prison sentence of 25-to-life. A “second-striker” would receive double the usual sentence.
The alleged idea behind the law was to keep the most violent and dangerous offenders off the streets. But that's not how the law was applied. Most people serving 25 to life sentences were not convicted of violent crimes. California judges have used non-violent offenses and even minor misdemeanors to “strike people out.” There are countless stories of people going to prison for 25-to-life for minor offenses such as stealing loose change from a parked car.
In 2012, almost 70 percent of California voters passed Proposition 36. This law changed Three Strikes in two significant ways:
- In order for the maximum sentence to be imposed the third strike had to be a serious or violent felony;
- It gave people currently serving a third strike sentence the right to petition the court for resentencing if their third strike was not serious or violent under the Penal Code.
In 2014, the 2000th prisoner serving a third strike sentence for a non-violent, non-serious offense was released. Some of these people had already served over twenty years behind bars.
If you or a loved-one has questions about California's Three Strikes law call our office today for a free consultation. (831)783-0222. We would be happy to speak with you.