Fourteen years ago, Stevan Dozier ran head-on into Washington state’s then-new three-strikes law, says the Seattle Times. Hooked on crack cocaine, Dozier funded his addiction by snatching women’s purses and striking his victims in the face if they fought back. The 1994 robbery of a woman, 69, resulted in an automatic life sentence for Dozier – only the sixth felon to commit a third-strike offense in the year that the law had been in effect. Under the original intent of three strikes, Dozier would be in prison for life. Today, the man who helped write the law, the judge who sentenced Dozier to life and King County Prosecutor Dan Satterberg will argue for his release before the state Clemency and Pardons Board.
“Three strikes was a reaction to a high rate of violent crime that we were experiencing in the early ’90s,” Satterberg said. “I think instituting a review of these cases is a necessary component. We don’t want to throw away the key when it comes to these people.” Conservative radio talk-show host John Carlson, who helped write the law, said the names of other three-strikers have come up over the years as deserving of clemency. In his eyes, Dozier is the first to measure up to his standards. “After 15 years I think we have found the guy,” Carlson said. “There aren’t that many sympathetic three-strikers.” If released, Dozier, 46, will be the state’s first three-striker to be granted clemency based upon the length of the sentence, the crime he committed and his behavior in prison.