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Three Strike Law

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The Effectiveness of a Three-Strike law. In the criminal justice system there are 4 goals in sentencing one is deterrence, this goal is to try to help the lawbreaker see that once they commit a crime and sentenced to serve time, they are at the discretion of the penal system. Isn’t it better to be at your own home and doing exactly what you want to do? If you are an inmate you raise when told to, go to bed when instructed and every thing else they expect you to do.
Incapacitation; means to put the criminal out of action, debilitate, because of this persons actions, they have been detained and cannot cause themselves or anyone else harm.
Rehabilitation, there was a timing that this really meant they, the state, once incarcerated, are to teach the inmate a trade. This trade was to make sure that the criminal did no longer have to live a life of crime. Upon their release they would be able to be gainfully employed, or have the ability to open their own business they would be what society would call employable. This is one of the original plans of our correctional facilities. Unlike today, it just seems that it was converted into a warehouse for bodies. Retribution, the inmate would have to pay for what they had done to someone. In this state of New Jersey there are certain crimes that according to the law that the criminal would have to pay back, they would have to pay restitution. Last but not least in sentencing is reformation which goes hand in hand with rehabilitation it was intended to make improvement with the person who has been incarcerated. The plan was to reorganize their lives and provide a way for an overhaul on their way to restoration.
If someone a citizen or naturalized and they commits a crime against society they still have constitutional rights. They are under the protection of the fourth amendment is that there shall be no unreasonable searches or seizures. The Fifth Amendment addresses Grand Jury indictment required to prosecute a person for a serious crime. No "double jeopardy" being tried twice for the same offense. Forcing a person to testify against him or herself prohibited. No loss of life, liberty or property without due process. The sixth amendment is the right to speedy, public, impartial trial with defense counsel, and right to cross-examine witnesses. The eighth amendment is No excessive bail or fines, no cruel and unusual punishments. From the time of the alleged crime to the sentencing criminals have rights. Even if the crime is heinous they are still entitled to the protections under our constitutions.
The Three Strikes law has critical causes and effects. The interpretation from the different state on the Three Strikes law is scary. It has certain tendencies to threaten the constitutional rights of individual. My next question is the effectiveness, has there been a change in crime rate per population in the different states? This particular law will have a person spend life in prison without the possibility of parole at the discretion of the states.
This law was intended to deter criminals from committing felony crimes over and over again. There was a revolving door for some lawbreakers whose wrongs would send them back to prison; sometimes the same nature of crime would be their ticket back to their familiar grounds. The convict would commit the crime, and go in and serve their time. These felons are the reason that we are now having this discussion. On the Three Strike Law.
Has this law’s mission been accomplished? I would say on a large scale no. It goes against the eight amendment of the Constitution of the United States. “Harmelin v. Michigan (501 U.S. 957, 996–997), which states in part that the "Eighth Amendment does not require strict proportionality between crime and sentence [but] forbids only extreme sentences that are 'grossly disproportionate' to the crime."
The Court also affirmed the right of the state legislature to set policy for the purposes of protecting public safety, and, quoting from Harmelin, stated that "The Constitution 'does not mandate adoption of any one penological theory."' The Court recognized that among the justifications for a sentence, alongside deterrence, retribution, and rehabilitation, incapacitation—making the offender incapable of preying on the public
In certain states when it comes to persons of color this particular law is dangerous. In this United States of America, there is what is commonly known as a white man’s law and the black man’s law. That is why this is so dangerous for us to have the three strike law. If the law enforcement wants to they can arrest and convict someone of felonies they may not have committed. If that happens three times they will spend the rest of their lives in prison for no apparent reason other than the color of their skin. Shane Reams, from California, is a prime example. He as a child, age 12, had problems with smoking marijuana; he supported his habit by breaking into two of his neighbors homes. His mother thinking that she was doing the correct thing turned her son into the police. He is now serving life in prison. I pose the question to you is this fair? He did not murder anyone or commit a violent crime. I repeat that it is dangerous to turn such power over to the states.
“Ewing v. California is it constitutional to sentence a repeat offender to an indeterminate life sentence for the commission of a nonserious or nonviolent felony”. “In People v. Superior Court (Romero), the state Supreme Court ruled that Three Strikes did not eliminate judicial discretion to dismiss prior serious or violent felony convictions”, /60II/main527248.shtml . However, it really does eliminate the discretion of the judge. If this is the offender’s third time for a crime he will be sentences to the rest of their life in prison. The judge will have no say so about it. Once again their hands are tied.
My feelings are that this law is unjust, while taking this course I have read and it appears to be a complete violation of the eight amendments in the United States Constitution. When this law was initially conceived it was for violent offenders. California saw a window, a grey area, and created its own law. The situation is this I read that California has made 7000 arrest and have placed these criminals in prison, some for minor charges. Is this really working?
The eight amendments read as follows, "Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted." This three strike law is in violation of this amendment because the states are imposing life in prison without the possibility of parole. Riggs v. California, 525 U.S. 1114 (1999), this cases I agree with there is an eighth amendment violation. Also, in the case of Andrade v. Attorney General of California, 270 F.3d 743 (9th Cir. 2001), this case is challenging the Three Strike law and the state of California may have to reduce or set free 340 inmates. These are cases that involve Shoplifting Convictions, The U.S. Appeals Court see what I see, shoplifting offensives do not fall under the violent felon crime unless there was use of force, or a weapon, (S.F. Chron., Friday, Feb. 8, 2002, at A-1)”.
I realize that the criminal must be punished for the crimes that they commit; I am not at all clear if it should be until death do they part. In the state of California according to statistics this law is working and the repeat offenders have dropped. Repeat offenders are not using prison as a revolving door. Ten years after this law was enacted California boasts that felonies have decreased, such as homicides they claim that homicides have decreased by almost 50 percent. There are other states crime has not been decreased by the three strike law and is not a deterrent. Some of the states such as Alabama, Delaware, Mississippi, and Maine, just to name a few, do not have this law enacted and have low crime. Thus the argument continues do we actually need this three strike law?
This particular law does not allow the courts to be flexible. The judge is also not allowed the flexibility when it comes time for sentencing. They are hamstringed by this law. In the state of Vermont this state did allow the judge some flexibility; at the very least the judge can sentence with the 3 strike law up to life in prison. The state of Vermont did not remove the discretion from the judge.
In New Jersey, someone who has been arrested for two felonies and has received two convictions can guaranteed themselves for the third conviction life in prison. A person, (the criminal), must know that they have tied the judge’s hand. Because of this law there is one decision that must be made without exception.
What is very popular in this state is plea bargaining. What a defendant does not realize is if they take a plea than they are admitting to guilt. All they have to do is have 3 of these pleas and they are gone away for life.
The pros in this Three Strike Law are that the repeat violent offender will be incapacities and not allowed on the streets to commit anymore crimes in their lifetime. The fact are that after the offender reaches his second crime that this should be a deterrent in being involved in any other crime because if he or she is they will spend the rest of their natural life in prison. They will then be wards of the states forever.
In my conclusion, I believe that there needs to be some revamping to this current Three-Strike Law. There is seriously a need to have some unification, a meeting of the minds so to speak. It cannot be so liberal in some states and in others ridiculously stern. I know that Crime is crime but let the penalty match the crime. The Three Strike Law should not be used for petty crimes just felony crimes as it was intended.

BIBLIOGRAPHY · · · Punishment and Democracy: Three Strikes and You're Out in California by Franklin E Zimring, Sam Kamin, Gordon Hawkins
Three Strikes and You're Out!: The Chronicle of America's Toughest Anti-Crime Law by Mike Reynolds, Bill Jones, Dan Evans
Worral, John L. Criminal procedure: from first contact to appeal/John Worrall 3rd ed.

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