An introduction to the 3 strikes law in the united states

Three strikes laws are state laws that provide for a much harsher punishment, generally a life sentence, the third time a person commits a felony. There are also habitual offender laws, which are distinguished by the number of offenses needed to trigger the harsher penalty. For example, in North Carolina, a person is considered a habitual offender on their fourth felony. Three strikes and habitual offender laws vary greatly from state to state and their application can turn on factors such as:

An introduction to the 3 strikes law in the united states

Three Strikes Laws Criminal statutes that mandate increased sentences for repeat offenders, usually after three serious crimes. Beginning in the early s, states began to enact mandatory sentencing laws for repeat criminal offenders. These statutes came to be known as "three strikes laws," because they were invoked when offenders committed their third offense.

By over half the states and the federal government had enacted three strikes laws. The belief behind the laws was that getting career criminals off the streets was good public policy. However, the laws have their critics, who charge that sentences are often disproportionate to the crimes committed and that incarceration of three strikes inmates for 25 years to life would drive up correctional costs.

Supreme Court has upheld three strikes laws and has rejected the argument that they amount to Cruel and Unusual Punishment. The state of Washington passed the first three strikes law in Anyone convicted of three separate violent felonies must be sentenced to life in prison with no chance for Parole.

An introduction to the 3 strikes law in the united states

The state of California followed, inby enacting a three strikes law that mandates a sentence of 25 years to life for a third felony conviction. Unlike Washington, the California law counts nonviolent felonies, such as Burglary and theft, as "strike" offenses. The popularity of the three strikes law in California has been pronounced.

By over 50, criminals had been sentenced under the new law, far more than any other state, with almost one-quarter of the inmates facing a minimum of 25 years in prison.

The California law originally gave judges no discretion in setting prison terms for three strikes offenders.

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However, the California Supreme Court ruled, inthat judges, in the interest of justice, could ignore prior convictions in determining whether an offender qualified for a three strikes sentence.

Prosecutors have the greatest discretion; they may decide whether to count certain crimes as strikes when they file their criminal complaint. Critics have charged that this system introduces the worst of both worlds: The disparity in prosecutorial use of the Californian law has meant that the law is rarely used in San Francisco but is used heavily in other parts of the state.

Supporters of three strikes laws have argued that the plummeting crime rates of the s were due in part to this tough new sentencing scheme. They especially rely on California statistics, which cite the fact that approximately 1, offenders are sentenced per year in California under the three strikes law.

They call the law a success since offenders are off the street for at least 25 years and are not able to harm the public again. The three strikes sentencing of offenders who have committed a number of violent crimes has rarely drawn much criticism. Concerns about the fairness and proportionality of the law have been raised when an offender is sent to prison for 25 years for shoplifting or some other minor property crime.

Critics note that a year sentence for a third strike shoplifting offense is the same sentence meted out to those who commit murder. Long sentences for relatively minor offenses, they contend, amounts to cruel and unusual punishment, which is barred by the Eighth Amendment.

By the late s a number of appeals had been raised in state and federal courts based on the disproportionality argument.

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Andrade was convicted of two counts of petty theft for shoplifting a total of nine videotapes from two Kmart stores. However, the prosecutor had the discretion to elevate the charges to felony level offenses.

Andrade, who was a heroin addict, had a string of burglary, theft, and drug convictions on his criminal record. The prosecutor charged him with two counts of felony theft and a jury convicted Andrade on both counts. TSAYO laws mandate that a heavy sentence be imposed on persons who are convicted of a third felony.

The minimum prison sentence required by such laws is typically between 25 years and life. TSAYO legislation is designed to protect society from dangerous individuals who show a pattern of lawlessness, incapacitate repeat felony offenders by keeping them behind bars, and deter others from committing similar criminal offenses.

National criminal justice statistics show that the number of violent crimes has precipitously dropped over the last eight years.

TSAYO legislation is not without its critics, however. In several studies called into doubt the effectiveness of three-strikes laws.

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Constitutional challenges have been leveled against TSAYO laws at both the state and federal levels, but courts and legislatures have resisted overturning them.

Public Law —, September 13,Stat It imposes a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without Parole on defendants who are convicted of a serious violent federal felony when they have two or more prior serious violent felonies or one or more serious violent felony convictions and one or more serious drug offense convictions.

The first two convictions may be for state or federal offenses, but the third conviction must be for a federal offense before the VCCLEA three-strikes provision applies. VCCLEA defines "serious violent felony" to include murder, voluntary Manslaughterassault with intent to commit murder or rape, aggravated Sexual AbuseKidnappingaircraft PiracyRobberyCarjackingExtortionArsonand firearms use or possession, among others.

Offenses committed at the state level need not be deemed a felony by the state to trigger the VCCLEA three-strikes provision as long as the state offense is "seriously violent," meaning the offense is similar to those specified by the VCCLEA.

Drug offenses committed at the state level are considered "serious" under VCCLEA if they would be punishable by the federal controlled substances laws.

The impetus behind TSAYO laws came from a string of highly publicized cases in which a crime victim was viciously attacked by a repeat offender on parole. One of the most publicized cases was that of year-old Polly Klaas from California.The Three Strikes Law has been a subject of much debate since its introduction as a regulation in The Three Strikes law was enacted in and is widely recognized as the harshest sentencing law in the United States.

“The State of Texas was the first State to enact such a law in A Note To The Law Of War Student: Particularly relevant sections of underlying case readings are yellow torosgazete.com student is, however, expected to at least be familiar with the entire reading.

The Three Strikes law is an example of a sentence enhancement because strikers receive additional time in prison for their current offense because of their prior convictions for serious or violent crimes. Three Strikes Law Essay Words | 9 Pages. Three Strikes Law 2 Three Strikes Law The Three Strikes Law has been a subject of much debate since its introduction as a regulation in The Three Strikes law was enacted in and is widely recognized as the harshest sentencing law in the United States.

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Supporters of three strikes laws have argued that the plummeting crime rates of the s were due in part to this tough new sentencing scheme. They especially rely on California statistics, which cite the fact that approximately 1, offenders are sentenced per year in California under the three strikes law.

An introduction to the 3 strikes law in the united states
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