Three Strikes Law 2 Essay

1022 words - 5 pages

A three strikes law is a law that is supposed to make sure that habitual offenders who are convicted of three felonies are sentenced 25 years up to life in prison (Samaha, 2011, p. 67). California, who passed the law in 1994, has the toughest law in the nation because its law also includes a 25 year to life sentence if you are “out” on a third strike (Samaha, p. 67). This law in California passed after Richard Allen Davis kidnapped, brutally beat and murdered 12 year old Polly Klaas in 1993 (Samaha, p. 67). Besides California, twenty four other states such as Arkansas, Georgia, Maryland, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Utah, Vermont, ...view middle of the document...

Judges has always had the right to use discretion in sentencing, but in a state with the three strikes law, the judge sends the offender straight to prison (Fox, 1995). Another con against the three strikes law is that it is unjust in certain conditions such as victimless crimes and crimes committed by young adults. Also, when an offender plea bargains his first two convictions, he or she is not aware, according to some that he or she is still subject to the three strikes law. If an offender is arrested again after two convictions he is already guaranteed to 25 years to life. The opponents of this ask what the purpose of pleading guilty is and so therefore the offender will most likely ask for a trial which will cost more time and money.
One more important controversial issue of the three strikes law is the fact that some feels the three strikes law is a violation of the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution. The Eighth Amendment prohibits the use of “cruel and unusual punishment” (Cbemerinsky, 2002). Some feel the three strikes law is “cruel” (Fox, 1995). In Lockyer v. Andrade, the United States Supreme Court held that the California Court of Appeal did not err in its decision regarding the sentencing of a convict under the California three strikes law to fifty years to life in prison for two counts of petty theft was not cruel or unusual punishment. Andrade challenged his sentence under the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment (Horn, 2004).
Los Angeles police officers say this controversial law is causing those offenders who are facing arrest (Wood, 1996). L.A. Police Chief Willie Williams openly criticized the law. He stated that the threat of incarceration of life in prison has a detrimental effect. Mr. Williams suggested modifying the law to apply to those convicted of three violent crimes instead of three all time felons (Wood, 1996). The supports feel that the desperate...

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