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Sunday, December 12, 2010

Three Strikes Travesty

I remember when California passed its three strikes law, and I similarly remember my relief and gratitude when the Supreme Court upheld its application during test cases in which the third strike was for rather minor crimes. This was early in the last decade while I was still teaching in the Juvenile Hall in Los Angeles and believed quite strongly in the need for harsh punishment for criminals in most cases. I still believe there are many felons for whom laws like this one are appropriate; however, this is the first case I've become aware of in which the first two strikes were handed down for a burglary and attempted burglary committed while a young and drug addicted offender was 19 years old and the third was then imposed when he was found in  possession of ten dollars worth of methamphetamine.

Until reading of this case, I had always assumed that strikes one and two had usually been required to include an element of violence either inflicted or  strongly threatened; burglary would almost never meet this threshold. While cases like this one would not be typical of the sort that result in a third strike offender being sent to prison for life, it has  opened my eyes  to the facts of what this law-- a well intentioned and largely necessary one-- has also done with the lives of some troubled Californians.

I thank God the case highlighted here seems likely to be reviewed favorably and can only hope we will seek out others like  it in which a similarly travesty has taken place.

1 comment:

  1. About immigration: My mother was the daughter of a man who fled the fascists in South Africa. He was actively against apartheid & fled just before he was charged with sedition. My wife is a legal immigrant. She & I were put through hell. The decided they would not recognize our marriage, even though the Courts of two countries had,& I had registered the birth of my two children at the embassy. They recognized our marriage then. Now my children are considered born out of wedlock, by this country.It makes me very angry. I think it is based on racism,plain & simple. Each of us was treated poorly in the other's country. I believe immigration by genuine marriage is ok. I also believe if someone is really being politically persecuted, we should let them in. I have problems with anything, but, a very strict quota system, for those who come for economic reasons or to join relatives. All of my ancestors we fleeing incarceration for political crimes. I think we should let people who are being persecuted in. The next group is much more difficult. The world is simply too populated. I have heard people from crowded co say that we could fit another 300->500 million more people here. I think that is ridiculous. If it wasn't for immigration, we would have a negative growth rate. I believe that we have about 4->5 billion people to many. What about the other animals? However you believe the world was created, can anyone honestly say that only humans count? We are quickly running out of fresh water, fertile land, forests, jungles, of all habitable terrain.. Rivers have dried up.In my state lakes are disappearing, and water tables are dropping rapidly. Why? Partly because companies came and stole the water to sell it all over the world. We can't get decent jobs, or for many, any kind of job, so they come and steal our water too. Overpopulation! Fish are dying, some threatened with extinction. We tried to clean our lakes and rivers. It was very expensive. Now the place that don't care about their water of they would have taken care of it, come to steal ours. Immigration also affects pollution, the more people, the more garbage, and the more sewage. Because of more roads and parking lots, rain does not percolate into the ground like it should. Aquifers dry up, rain washes into storm drains and sewers, & sewage overflows into our drinking water, also killing water animals. It is argued by some, and I agree, that the people who migrate for economic reasons, are more ambitious. I agree with those who say that these are the people that would change the lands they leave in search of riches. Last, any economic based immigration should be based on strict quotas, as well a 'quid pro quo'. If they do not allow migration into their country from ours, their quotas should be drastically reduced, not to be filled by extras people from places that filled their quotas, but, only by political refugees. That should apply to all non filled quotas. It means less people come in. If we don't start doing something very soon about over population, we will be fighting wars over war, and the movement of people. In fact it has already started. Last, the living wage. Most illegals don't pay taxes. That means they work for less pay, but,get more than someone legal at that job.This is wrong. Who benefits? The companies that pay less, cheat on their taxes, no workers comp,social security,or retirement is paid. The whole shrinking middle class,& the poor are cheated. Illegal economic immigration is a crime that hurts more than 200million people in this country. All who benefit from it, from the smugglers, the illegals,& most of all, those who employ them, should be prosecuted. The fault goes to the heads of the companies that hire illegals. A phone call can check the status. Companies have always pushed for more & more immigration, & until they are seriously punished for it they always will, as the rich get richer, & the poor get wage cuts, or lose their jobs.