Oakland, Ca., Mayor Jerry Brown says that passage of a ballot measure to modify the state’s “three strikes” law would “wreak havoc” in his city and in communities all over the state, says the Sacramento Bee. “Under this law, you’re going to cut loose thousands of people who the prosecutors of this state – all 58 of them – think should be locked up for the rest of their lives,” Brown told a legislative hearing on Proposition 66.
The initiative seeks to rework the toughest-in-the nation “three strikes” law, one the Legislature passed, former Republic Gov. Pete Wilson signed and 72 percent of the voters approved in 1994. Backers of Proposition 66 say it is needed to keep relatively minor third-strike felons from being sentenced to state prison for 25 years to life, at an annual cost to taxpayers of about $31,000 each. Opponents say the law works exactly as intended, imposing lengthy terms on offenders with serious and violent criminal histories who continue to pick up felony convictions, even if just for shoplifting or possessing illegal drugs.