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October 05, 2004

Comments

Xrlq

It sounds like your real argument is against three strikes in any form. Am I right or am I right?

The way I see it, once someone has done two vicious things to two vicious people, and still won't go straight after that, we have to start showing a little less compassion for him and a lot more for the people he is terrorizing. The idea is to prevent strike four. Maybe strike three wasn't such a big offense in and of itself, but are you willing to bet your own life, mine, your wife's and your kid's that strike four will be a repeat of strike three, and not strikes one and two? I'm not. Oh, by the way, decapitating your dog is not considered "violent" or "serious," so the guy who was recently convicted of that will be among the 26,000 seeking an early release if this thing passes.

Worst of all, this initiative also quietly dilutes the definition of "violent" and "serious" in a way that just happens (!) to spring mega-contributor Jerry Keenan's son out of prison. Last and least, the initiative was drafted very sloppily, with numerous typos and spelling errors, and even two subdivisions that were both assigned the same letter. And since it's a ballot initiative, the legislature can't even fix it once it's on the books.

Prop 66 is a horrible implementation of a horrible idea.

Christy

Glad to hear you're supporting Prop 66, Hugo. Note to XRLQ: Second and third strikers will only come up for re-sentencing if Prop. 66 passes - No inmates will be automatically released. And yes, I would be afraid of any man who had decapitated his dog. (I do agree that the LA Times has lousy editorials. Even when I agree, I wonder where they're keeping their good writers who make coherent arguments.)

We already have laws on the books for violent crimes, and I certainly support enforcing them. I do not, however, agree with your argument that we should imprison someone indefinitely because of what s/he might do in the future. If someone has been convicted of a crime and done their time, then it is unconstitutional to treat a burglary case as if it is murder. Our legal system is designed to try people for crimes they have already committed. It is not designed for prevention. If you want to prevent violent crime, I have some ideas. None of them involve prisons.

Speaking of early releases, here's an interesting bit of information from deputies at LA County Men's Central Jail: It is so overcrowded now that anyone sentenced to do their time there is being released after doing only 10% of their sentence. If you want to be "tough on crime" and lock people up, then be willing to follow through and spend the billions it takes to build and maintain the jails, pay the deputies and guards,and feed, clothe and provide medical care to those who are incarcerated - roughly $24K per inmate per year. Do you want to take that money from the roads or the schools or do you want to raise your taxes?

Xrlq

Christy, there is nothing "unconstitutional" about a law that punishes recidivism. The three strikes law has been challenged so many times, so many ways, that whatever the arguments against it may be, constitutionality should not be one of them. And I'm not interested in debating the semantics of "automatic." Yes, inmates have to petition to be re-sentenced. No, there's no question they will get their new sentences, which in 26,000 cases will mean instant release.

I for one am highly skeptical of the supposed savings we as taxpayers are supposed to reap once 26,000 once violent criminals are swiftly released into mainstream society. The alleged savings are based on a "static" estimate that naively assumes all 26,000 of them will immediately morph into fine, upstanding citizens. Of course it's not going to work that way; most will end up back in prison eventually, and many will be busted in a matter of months. That's a very small savings in prison costs, which will be more than offset by the cost of sending people to arrest them and try them for crimes they otherwise never could have committed. Meanwhile, more innocent people will be raped, murdered, assaulted, burglarized - you name it, we'll have more of it. Guaranteed. You do realize that innocent people WILL die as a result of Prop 66 passing, don't you? That's not alarmist rhetoric; it's a statistical certainty. Maybe you're OK with that, but as for me, I think that's one hell of a price to pay just so some predatory thug who blew first, second and third chances (and usually much more than that) can now go on to have a fourth chance to go prey on someone else.

You say that "we already have laws on the books for violent crimes." I agree. The three strikes law, as currently written, is a prime example of the laws we already haev on the books, whose enforcement has made this state a much safer place than it was before the law took effect. Pre-1994 revolving door justice cost the lives of Kimber Reynolds, Polly Klaas, Patrick Purdy's victims, and too many other innocents to count. Why would anyone, other than a person who wishes ill on the entire state of California, want to return to a system like that?

If the pro-criminal lobby really wants to end three strikes and allow the inmates to rule the asylum once more, fine. We live in a democracy, after all, so put it up for a vote like anything else. But at least have the decency to to be forthright abotu what you are doing. Come out with a clean, unambiguous initiative that expressly repeals the three strikes law, and see how the electorate votes on it. But don't do this through the back door, with a Trojan horse that dishonestly purports to "fix" the very initative that it guts. Perhaps someone should ask the California Conference of Catholic Bishops, the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the Friends Committee on Legislation and the Los Angeles Council of Churches what their position is on lying.

Hugo

My goodness, XRLQ, if such an initiative were on the ballot, I'd vote for it unashamedly. But I'm not about to let the best be the enemy of the good.

Xrlq

I guess we differ on the definition of "good." My idea of good involves protecting the weak from the strong, and the law-abiding from those with a known propensity to harm other people. If yours is to turn as many criminals loose as possible so they can inflict as much mayhem as possible, then by gum, you should support Prop 66. I just wish everyone would debate the issue on those terms.

Hugo

XRLQ, are you aware that among those supporting 66 is Joe Klaas (who has a house in Carmel) and is the grandpa of the murdered Polly?

I want criminals to be punished for the crimes they commit. I want the punishment to fit the crime, not to be based upon past behavior. I have no problem with long sentences, but only for the worst of crimes.

Xrlq

I wasn't aware of that, but I'm not surprised by it, either. That doesn't make the idea any better, however. FWIW, Mike Reynolds, the father of murdered Kimber Reynolds, opposes Prop 66. So does D.A. Steve Cooley, despite having criticized his predecessor's occasionally overzealous prosecution of third strike offenses, and despite having an internal policy of only purusing third strike offenses when strike 3 qualifies under the rules for 1 and 2. If the initiative really just did what is proponents claim it does, presumably Cooley would support it, or at least not oppose it.

As an opponent of capital punishment, I'm not sure what you mean by punishment "fitting the crime." Executions fit murders quite nicely, I think. As to punishments not being "based" on past behavior, I'm a bit confused. Are you seriously arguing that our justice system should not come down harder on repeat offenders / career criminals than it does on first time (and, one would hope, last time) offenders?

Astarte

Three crimes makes someone a career criminal? And heck, three crimes that may be unrelated?

Xrlq

Depending on the crime, they may or may not be a "career," strictly speaking. They do, however, establish the individual as an incorrigible recidivist who has done extremely nasty things to innocent people in the past, and are very likely to continue to do so in the future if left unchecked.

Shula Davis

Hello Hugo my name is Shula Davis and i attend CART and Clovis West High School. In CART we are doing a project on Prop 66 and my part is Yes on Prop 66 i was wondering if Allie,David,and I could get an interview somehow. Although i do not know what city you live in, If you live in Fresno County we can drive to have an interview otherwise we could do it on the phone or internet. It would help our project out greatly but if you can't it's understandable.
Thank you,
Shula Davis (masserty@hotmail.com)

Anne

PLEASE WAKE UP CALIFORNIA AND DO NOT PASS PROPOSITION 66. Read it before you make a huge mistake. Its deceptively worded, funded by a rich man interested only in getting his son out who killed three people while driving drunk and was given 8 yrs. Wow not a whole lot of time to fit his crime.

This abomination of a proposition will release my son in law to go back on crack, beat up his wife, collect ssi along with the rest of his family, and do harm emotionally to my 3 yr old grandaughter who I care for full time. God put him in prison before she was born because he knew these things and now all the good the Three Strikes law does will have been for naught. If you want to amend Three Strikees do it intelligently. Do you want a person who burglerizes your house not to have a strike. DO YOU KNOW WHAT IT FEELS LIKE TO BE BURGLERIZED. I DO. IT FEELS LIKE RAPE. Do you want someone to be able to assault an older person and this not be a strike. WAKE UP CALIFORNIA. PLEASE I BEG YOU FOR THE SAKE OF MY GRANDDAUGHTER. YOU WILL REGRET IT IF THIS PASSES!

Anne

I wanted to add on last comment. This guy never worked while he was out of jail, lived on ssi and my daughter and me because I paid for her apartment. He had sex with underaged girls, commited burglery, was a crack addict, and a non productive member of society. I actually helped him monetarily the second time he went to prison against my attorneys advice. But once out of jail the 2nd time he went right back to his old ways. It was a blessing when he went to jail. For my daughter who was on the brink of suicide(he beat her up all the time) and mostly for my precious precious granddaughter who is doing wonderfully now and has a good life and a chance to become a good citizen and have a loving environment. PLEASE FOR HER SAKE VOT NO ON PROP 66 AND FOR THE SAKE OF ALL INNOCENT VICTOMS. JUST LOOK WHOS SPONSERING THIS ABOMINATION.

anne

I Have another comment. If you want to talk religion ok lets talk religion because I am a religios person. Jesus said "By their fruits you will know them". Very wise man jesus. We can apply this to laws also. If Three Strikes is a Good law then it will produce good fruits. Look at whats happened in California. Our crime rate has decreased 33% and I've heard as high as 50% versus the rest of the country at around 12%. So there is the litmus test. It is a good law that has produced good fruit. Just think about it. When a person keeps committing a crime he is not likely to change. Think how difficult it is to quit smoking, drinking, taking drugs. The recidivism rate is in the 90 percentile. Most of the people that have been imprisioned for Three Strikes have commited not 3 felonys but 5 or more. Please research this propositon and don't be fooled by the pro 66 people. They are lying to you.

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