1015. (SA03RF0047, Amdt. #1-S). Limitations on "Three Strikes" Law. Sex Crimes. Punishment. Initiative Statute.
Proponent: James R. "Jim" Benson, (714) 547-9842
Amends "Three Strikes" law to require increased sentences only when current conviction is for specified violent and/or serious felony. Redefines violent and serious felonies. Only prior convictions for specified violent and/or serious felonies, brought and tried separately, would qualify for second and third "strike" sentence increases. Allows conditional re-sentencing of persons with sentences increased under "Three Strikes" law if previous sentencing offenses, or prior convictions used to increase sentences, would no longer qualify as violent and/or serious felonies. Increases punishment for specified sex crimes against children. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local governments: Unknown, but significant net savings to the state ranging from several tens of millions of dollars to several hundreds of millions of dollars annually due to lower prison operating costs partially offset by costs associated with court-related activities, parole supervision, and the incarceration of and counseling services for sex offenders. Potential state deferral of several hundreds of millions of dollars in capital outlay costs associated with delayed construction of additional prison beds. Increased one-time costs of up to several tens of millions of dollars for jail and court-related costs; ongoing costs of a couple of tens of millions of dollars.
Libertarians are in favor of Prop. 66 which fixes problems with the original "Three Strikes" law. First is the issue of justice. Over half the people convicted for a third strike have been for non-violent crimes such as shoplifting or drug possesion. A sentence of 25 years to life is out of line with the crime. With Prop. 66 the third strike will have to be a violent or serious crime. The second is the issue of cost. Keeping aging prisoners in prison decades longer costs $100's of millions per year. Most of these older prisoners are no longer a threat, so keeping them for minor crimes doesn't make economic sense. No one is automatically set free; those that request a resentencing hearing will have to waive their right of double jeopardy, and can be retried for the original crimes. Past plea bargains can be thrown out by the D.A., who can also bring charges for other alleged crimes that were not prosecuted originally.
Citizens Against Violent Crime recommends Yes.