Proposition 66, the initiative on California’Es November ballot to amend the state’s three-strikes law on the November ballot, should be defeated, says Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley. It eliminates several crimes that can trigger a third-strike sentence; because it’s retroactive, thousands of prisoners would have to be resentenced. “This initiative is a bad, bad idea,” Cooley says, reports the Los Angeles Times Magazine.
In the audience was Sam Clauder, who helped write the law but now opposes it. So does both the grandfather of kidnap victim Polly Klaas and a wealthy Sacramento insurance broker with a son in prison who stepped in to personally bankroll t he reform plan. All supported the original three-strikes law but have changed their minds. The petty nature of some third strike cases masks the serious nature of previous crimes. But many charged under the law have no record of violence. Says the Times: “They are simply society’s natural-born losers–kinetic speed freaks and crackheads, washed-out winos and small-time thieves–Fellini’s freaks, Charles Bukowski’s barflies, junkies, and addicts who got their first two strikes by committing burglaries to support their habits, often decades earlier.”