Habitual Offenders and the Law

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There are various types of crimes that can cause a person to be labeled habitual offenders. Drug possession, robbery, rape, kidnapping, and murder are just a few of the crimes that can warrant a misdemeanor or felony charge. The judicial system has proclaimed zero tolerance for these types of criminals; therefore, enhancement statutes were placed in effect. “Examples of such statutes would be the Habitual Felons Act, RICO, the Career Criminal Act, mandatory minimum sentences for trafficking in narcotics, perpetuating crimes in a violent manner, three-strikes laws, hate-crime laws, and 10-20-Life for using a gun during the commission of a crime.” (Terrrito, pg 16, Chapter 10).The reasoning behind the three-strike laws is rational when attempting to decrease criminal activity by persistent offenders, but when any one of the three offenses is a misdemeanor, the punishment should fit the crime. There has been much debate in regards to the question of whether the habitual offender law is targeting the right people. Because of “the war on drugs” slogan, new laws have gone into effect to attempt to deter the possession and manufacturing of any type of drug. Many people complain that the laws need to become stricter because the consequences of violating the rulings do not seem to lessen the amount of drugs on the street. There are thousands of prisoners arrested yearly and many are subjected to the three-strike law, while murders, rapists, and child molesters are set free after serving a light sentence or receiving only a ‘slap on the wrist’. Many people would agree that the wrong types of criminals are not being fully held responsible for their actions. The type and severity of the crime, should be the deciding factor on the length of prison terms when a person commits misdemeanors or felonies, because sometimes the statute is too lenient or too harsh. “A person is guilty of sexual abuse in the second degree when he or she is at least eighteen (18) years old but less...
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