FROM Michael Romano
Three Strikes and the Voice of the Voters California's Three Strikes law was first passed in 1994, at a time of anxiety over violent crime. Offenders previously convicted of two violent or serious crimes could be sentenced to 25 years to life for any third conviction. Now, state prisons are so overcrowded that federal courts have ordered population reduction, but the state's voters may be ahead of the game. By huge margins in all 58 counties on November 6, they modified Three Strikes by passing Proposition 36 . We hear from Michael Romano, Director of the Three Strikes Project at Stanford Law School, who co-authored that measure, and from Justin Brooks, Director of the Institute for Criminal Defense Advocacy at California Western School of Law, which won release of the first nonviolent offender .
Prop. 36: Changes to the 'Three Strikes' Law In 1994, Californians cracked down on so-called "career criminals" by passing a law called Three Strikes and You're Out . If a defendant has prior convictions for two "serious" or "violent" crimes, it provides that any third felony conviction will mean a mandatory sentence of life in prison. Proposition 36 on next month's ballot would change that. Michael Romano, director of the Three Strikes Project at Stanford University, is co-author of Prop 36. Mike Reynolds is a portrait photographer in Fresno, who wrote the original law after his 18-year-old daughter was murdered by two repeat offenders. He's opposed to Prop 36.
The Race for State Attorney General Los Angeles District Attorney Steve Cooley and San Francisco DA Kamala Harris faced off yesterday in a debate in their race for Attorney General. Republican Cooley and Democrat Harris disagreed over Proposition 23 , which would suspend Governor Schwarzenegger’s new law against global warming; Prop 19 , which would legalize marijuana; California’s unhealthy and overcrowded prison service, which is under the receivership of a panel of three federal judges; and Prop 8 , the ban on same-sex marriage passed two years ago and declared unconstitutional by a federal court.
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