Finally, Proposition 36 was passed on the last election day. Reforming California’s 3 Strikes law has been attempted unsuccessfully several times, mainly due to its political popularity and the difficulty in amending a Proposition passed by the people. However, California has severe prison overcrowding problem. I am not just saying that: the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling to California prisons forcing them to release inmates due to inhumane conditions and poor medical care. No doubt that California’s 3 Strikes law is one of the main reasons California prisons are overcrowded.
The 3 Strikes law is complicated, but can be summed up like this: If a person has 2 Strikes on their record, in any other future felony, even stealing a piece of Pizza (yes, there are cases involving theft of a piece of pizza earning someone a 25 years to life sentence), the person would automatically be facing a minimum sentence of 25 years to life. Many, myself included, felt this was draconian, unjust, and in the end, unaffordable. Proposition 36 was aimed to change that.
Now that Proposition 36 has passed, many prospective client’s facing 25 years to life due to a nonviolent felony MAY be entitled to relief, but it does have exceptions. For instance, certain drug crimes would disqualify a client from relief, and he or she would still be facing a sentence of 25 years to life. The best thing to do is contact an experience and knowledgeable lawyer for a consultation.
Further, many people currently in prison can now petition the courts to have their sentence reduced. There is a deadline of November 6, 2014, unless good cause is shown.
Please contact my office if you know someone who can be positively affected by Proposition 36.
Text of Proposition 36.