California 3 Strike Law – Cruel and Unusual Punishment or Not

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Contributors: Angelo Zammit & Ami Pancholi are regulars on the Radio Talk Show Price of Business & Co-Founders of the multi award winning marketing agency East Coast Loyalty 


Wiki Reference: “In the United Stateshabitual offender laws (commonly referred to as three-strikes laws) were first implemented on March 7, 1994 and are part of the United States Justice Department‘s Anti-Violence Strategy. These laws require a person guilty of committing both a severe violent felony and two other previous convictions to serve a mandatory life sentence in prison.”

Now the question lies is that really fair and does the sentence outweigh the crime depending on the severity. Now, I am not going to provide a definitive opinion on this matter, rather provide you the knowledge and facts I concluded to form your own. In this article I will do my best to cover both sides of the issue. One is felony repeat offenders being a nuisance within our society and the strong need and urge to remove them to keep law abiding citizens safe. Two, does throwing a person in a cell for the rest of their natural born life really help anyone at all and is it just. On top of that the main purpose jails and prisons were designed was to rehabilitate the inmate, with life there is no rehabilitation involved at all seeing to survive in such an environment one needs to lose all humanity. Thus rehabilitation to any degree would only weaken the inmate and place them in harm’s way!

Ok, now that we got that out of the way let’s talk about this 3 strike law that Mr. Bill Clinton (US President) from 1-20-1993 to 1-20-2001 claims was a mistake and openly admits he regrets. Mr. Clinton has publicly admitted that due to his 3 strike law the prison systems have become overly populated and the 3 strike law is mainly to blame. I’m not saying that I am against a life imprisonment sentence for crimes involving rape, murder, robbery etc. but the sentence must indeed fit the crime.

I have seen cases where a simple theft (mister mina), such as stealing four cookies puts a man behind bars for 25 years to life. Kevin Weber was convicted of that very crime in 1995 and is set to be released no later than 2021. “The case is the most extreme example of California’s three strikes law since a man was jailed for 25 years in 1994 for grabbing a slice of pizza from some children. His sentence was reduced on appeal.”

Really, a piece of pizza and four cookies; we have murderers pleading out to lesser sentences than that. Killers, who have literally planed, plotted and premeditated multiple homicides. Husbands and wives killing their entire families and sleeping through the night before waking to place the call to police, expressing with no emotion how they erased their entire family. Woman throwing their babies in trash barrels and dumpsters because they cannot parent a child they so willingly had! Yet we sympathize for these folks, but cannot find it in our hearts to sympathize for a homeless man stealing a piece of pizza from a child or stealing a cookie to feed themselves. I often feel we live in a backward society, but again I am doing my best to stay neutral, I do not feel I am doing a great job. My emotions often get the best of me when writing articles so I apologize in advance.

Now, on the other hand I do see where a repeat offender can become a burden to society. They can place an uncomfortable feeling within you that makes you cringe. I’ve heard people say, “Well they can get a job just like the rest of us etc. They are nothing but the bottom of the barrel, bottom feeders and beggars.” Well that may seem a bit harsh until you become the victim of circumstance. You will never understand how it feels to be victimized by a thief, pedophile, rapist etc. until you’re the one who’s stuck living with the outcome of their actions. And this goes for both sides as well, both sides being the ones who protect us abusing their power as well as the ones they are protecting us from. Evil has no face or status! Nobody is exempt from causing one harm or from disrupting the community. And more often than not, we must be very careful when choosing whom we provide authority to. Imagine if the Boston strangler, Mr. Albert DeSalvo himself were a cop or political figure? I bet that story would have ended differently. I mean just take a good look at the Whitey Bulger situation, how can our government find Bin Laden in a cave in the middle of nowhere, yet we couldn’t find Bulger living in a condo in California lol.

Anyhow that’s a whole other article in itself. So in conclusion, maybe if the three strike law applied then as it does now in certain states, we most likely would have  had a very different ending to both their stories as well as many others and a lot more innocent victims who were murdered alive to talk about it today.

I would like to know how you, the readers feel about this topic and if you feel it’s a good thing or unjust and extensive depending on the circumstances and crimes being committed by the offenders. Should a person really be sentenced to life in prison for stealing a pizza, cookie etc.? Feel free to express your thoughts in the comment section of this article.


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