California’s Three Strike Law
Crime and Society
Instructor Scott Axton
2 May 2013
Some states have yet to join those states that have put in effect the Three Strike Law. Even though many states have implemented the Three Strike Law it still has many setbacks. California has the strictest laws on the Three Strike Law. While experts thought this would be a good idea it causes issues like overcrowding in prisons and a much bigger budget plan. Proposition 36 was voted to reform the Three Strike Law to reduce sentences to those who have been convicted or misdemeanors instead of felonies.
The Three Strike Law was first introduced in 1974, in the state of Texas. The state of Texas Three Strike Law, mandated for a criminal to automatically have to serve life in prison. Since then, there have been about 27 other states who have adopted the Three Strike Law. California was the third state to start implicating the law in 1994. Out of all the states who have adopted the law, California is the strictest state. California’s Three Strike Law has been around for about 19 years now. The main goal of this law was to reduce crime and deter offenders from repeating or committing more crime. The Three Strike Law in California was recently voted on Proposition 36, which reforms the Three Strike Law in the election of November 2012. The reason why the Three Strike Law was to be voted on was because, regardless of the crimes committed, whether serious or petty crimes, as long as it was there third strike. The offenders are facing life in prison whether their crimes were within a year of each other or within their lifetime. California’s voters had to decide whether to pass Proposion 36, which modifies the Three Strike Law.
The Three Strike Law was first introduced in California, after a 12 year old girl named, Polly Klaas, was kidnap and murder by Richard Allen Davis. Richard Allen Davis had a criminal background that started as early=y as the age of 12. He had numerous convictions relating to violent crimes like, kidnapping, assault, and robbery. But because California did not have the Three Strike Law in effect yet, Davis was able to be in and out of prison. In October of 1993, he entered the home of Polly Klaas, armed with a knife. He to go into Polly’s room and proceeded to tie up and kidnap, Polly. Davis left her friends tied up in her room. For about two to three months, Richard Allen Davis went on without getting caught. He was pulled over several times but only his driving record was checked not his criminal record, so law enforcements had no idea. Eventually, he was arrested and his palm print was matched, to a palm print found in Polly Klaas’s bedroom. He was convicted of kidnapping, murder and committing lewd act on her. In August of 1996, Richard Davis was convicted to the death penalty, but is still currently awaiting execution in San Quentin State Prison, in California. If the Three Strike Law was around before Richard Allen Davis, went on to commit so many crimes and have a pattern of violent crimes, then the murder of Polly Klaas could have been avoided seeing as Richard Allen Davis would have been serving , most likely a life sentence in prison. A problem that is the result of the California’s Three Strike Law is that there are offenders spending 25 years to life sentences over petty crimes. Under the law, as long as the offenders have two strikes, on the third strike they are facing a sentence of 25 years to life in prison. California allows third crimes normally classified as misdemeanors to be counted as felonies for purposes of the "three strikes" trigger. (www.civilrights.org) For instance, if a young male at the age of 18 decided to break in someone’s house and steal some items like jewelry, or electronics, maybe due to the lack of income and needing money to eat. That would be classified as two strikes instead of just one. Under the California Three Strike Law, each offense...
References: Collica, K., & Furst, G. (2012). Crime & Society. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education Inc.
Jafee, I. (2013, April 10). A Mother 's Fight Against 3 Strikes Law 'A Way of Life ' : NPR. Retrieved April 28, 2013, from http://www.npr.org/2013/04/10/176801984/a-mothers-fight-against-3-strikes-law-a-way-of-life
Narrow Supreme Court Decision Upholds "Three Strike" Law. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2013, from http://www.civilrights.org/criminal-justice/sentencing/three-strikes-law.html
Proposition 36 | Official Voter Information Guide | California Secretary of State. (n.d.). Retrieved April 2013, from http://voterguide.sos.ca.gov/propositions/36/
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