Uploaded by phatkok2 on May 10, 2002
Cruel and Unusual Punishment is a fundamental right given to us by the United States (U.S.) Constitution. The 8th amendment states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishment inflicted.” Last year in California voters approved a controversial ballot initiative. Proposition 184, also known as the three strikes and you're out law, was passed on November 9, 1994. Under this new legislation repeat offenders, upon committing their third felony offense, will be sentenced to a mandatory twenty-five years to life in prison (California p. 667). California law states that (2) (A) If a defendant has two or more prior felony convictions as defined in subdivision (d) that have been pled and proved, the term for the current felony conviction shall be an indeterminate term of life imprisonment with a minimum term of the indeterminate sentence calculated as the greater of:
(i) Three times the term otherwise provided as punishment for each current felony conviction subsequent to the two or more prior felony convictions.
(ii) Imprisonment in the state prison for 25 years.
The initiative passed with 76% of the voters in favor of it. The State Senate soon after voted the bill into law, with only seven members voting against it. The three strikes initiative stemmed from the killing of Polly Klass by Richard Allen Davis, a convicted felon. The killing outraged the entire state but what enraged people even more was that Davis had been in and out of prison his whole life and was still free to kill again. Soon people began calling for laws that would put repeat violent offenders behind bars for life. The premise of the new laws became an easy issue for politicians to back. To oppose such legislation seemed to be political suicide, so most politicians backed the initiative. Although many civil liberties groups opposed such mandatory sentencing measures there was little they could in the face of tremendous voter approval. Many voters did not realize that this bill could put potentially incarcerate people for ludicrous amounts after the commission of a minor offense. Even more voters did not realize the cost of implementing such a bill. Now that this new legislation has been in effect for a year and the tremendous negative affects it have become obvious we must repeal it. One of the issues that must be considered when imposing mandatory sentencing is the...