A Sentence of Life in Prison for Stealing $150 Worth of Videotapes is Constitutional
A sentence of life in prison for stealing $150 worth of videotapes is constitutional. It is not "grossly disproportional" nor "contrary to, or unreasonable application of, clearly established federal law" (Katsh, William Rose 216). This was decided after a case of a young man receiving two 25 years to life in prison sentences for a multiple theft offense.
Leandro Andrade stole videotapes from two different K-Mart stores in California. These were not his first and only offenses. Andrade was interviewed by a state probation officer and reported that every time he gets out of jail he always seems to do something stupid (Katsh, William Rose 219). "The defendant admitted committing the offense. The defendant further stated he went into the K-Mart Store to steal videos. He took four of them to sell so he could buy heroin. He has been a heroin addict since 1977. He says when he gets out of jail or prison he always does something stupid. He admits his addiction controls his life and he steals for his habit." A 1990 misdemeanor conviction led to the three strikes
sentencing in which Andrade received. Andrade was charged with two counts of petty theft with a prior conviction. California law allows petty theft with a prior conviction to be considered a misdemeanor or a felony, decided at the discretion of the prosecutor (Katsh, William Rose 219).
California's three strikes law allows the idea that any felonies can constitute the third strike, and can subject a defendant to a term of 25 years to life in prison. The prosecutor charged the two counts of Andrade's theft as felonies. Andrade argued that he should only receive one term of 25 years to life in prison because the courts can dismiss strikes on a count-by-count basis (Katsh, William Rose 219).
The three strikes statutes are seen as a way to combat the nation's crime problem. After Polly Klass was...
Cited: Katsh, M. Ethan, and William Rose. Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial
Legal Issues. Connecticut: McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc., 2004
Harvard Law Review. "Criminal Procedure. Sentencing. California Enacts
Enhancements for Prior Felony Convictions." Vol. 107, No.8 (June.,1994), 2123-2128. http://www.jstor.org/sici.com
Marvell, Thomas B, and Carlisle E. Moody. "The Lethal Effects of the Three-Strikes
Laws." Vol. 30, No. 1 (Jan., 2001), 89-106. http://www.jstor.org/sici
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