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Orange County Criminal Defense Attorney
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"Three Strikes" Crime Laws May Change With Prop 36

According to the Orange County Register Prop 36 is aiming to change the rules in regards to people receiving third strike sentencing. They use the example of a man named Shane Taylor who is currently behind bars, when really he shouldn’t be when looking at the crimes that he has committed. His first two interactions with the law involved two very small burglaries, and only one check was forged from the stolen checkbook. And then eight years later, he was found with methamphetamine on his person, and because that was his third criminal strike, he was automatically sentenced to receive life in prison with the option of parole in 25 years.

Even now, the judge presiding over his case acknowledges that the sentencing was far too harsh, and though he is now retired he has sent a request to the judge now for an early release. With Prop 36, it appears that there would be at least 2,700 individuals under similar sentencing who will have the opportunity to seek resentencing in light of the change laws. Along with that, Prop 36 will also aid in preventing second strike criminals from receiving a life sentencing if they committed a crime that was nonviolent, for example: possession of drugs. Though they do state that for those criminals, even first time offenders, convicted of extreme crimes such as murder, rape, and child molestation will still have the possibility of receiving a life sentencing no matter if the new proposition is passed or not.

While this new law would sound very pleasant for criminals who don’t want to be behind bars for the rest of their life, there are many law enforcement officials who feel the exact opposite. They claim that if this is passed then there will be “crooks back on the streets” who will continue to break laws if they are allowed to be released rather than receiving a life sentencing. The California Strict Attorneys Association that opposes the new proposition states that by allowing the nonviolent criminals to be placed in jail for life, is keeping them from relapsing into their old habits. They are claiming that it is common for a criminal to fall into old habits when let out of jail early.

Records show that there are 8,800 third strike convicts behind bars around the country, of which 2,700 would be eligible for a resentencing if the law were to pass. 91 third strikers have been sentenced to life in prison just over the last three years, and the number will likely grow over time if the proposition is not passed. If you have been accused of a crime, contact a trusted criminal defense attorney at The Law Offices of Virginia L. Landry today to discuss your case.