Against Three Strikes Essay Research Paper Against

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Against Three Strikes Essay, Research Paper Against Three Strikes By failing to report his change of address, Eric Barr fell victim to California’s three strikes law and was sentenced to 25 years-to-life without the possibility of parole. Yes, Eric Barr broke the law and should be punished, but to send him to prison for the rest of his life for this offense is absurd. This penalty is excessive and disproportionate to the crime Eric committed. The three strikes law is a violation of the cruel and unusual punishment clause of the VIII Amendment and is therefore unconstitutional. After a total of ten years in prison Eric Barr was demonstrating a proper rehabilitative lifestyle. He got a job, and checked in with his probation officer accordingly. Eric was surprised when he

found police officers waiting to take him into custody at his place of employment. Understanding that the three strikes law was in full effect and that he was one strike away from a life behind bars, Eric, obviously, inadvertently broke his probation and is now serving an outlandish sentence. Eric Barr and many other people are paying for California’s crime phobia. The popular three strikes initiative, which Californian’s easily passed into law by a 72% margin in the November 1994 election, is an attempt at a quick fix stemming from two decades of steadily increased crime rates. Although the law sounds equitable when imposed on felons who continually commit violent undeterable crimes, it can also throw the key away on those who are perfectly able to live non-criminal lives in

society. Under this law, anyone with two prior felony convictions could be sentenced to prison for 25 years-to-life without the possibility of parole for any third felony conviction. No matter how minor the offense is, prosecutors have the right to request the 25 years-to-life sentence. In California, there are over 500 offenses that can be categorized as a felony trigger a third strike. A similar Court case to Eric’s was Solem v. Helm (1983). In 1979, Jerry Helm was convicted in South Dakota of writing a bad check for $100. Ordinarily the maximum punishment for that crime would have been five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. However, Helm was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole because he had six prior felony convictions. He was convicted three

times of third-degree burglary, once for obtaining money under false pretenses, once for grand larceny and a third-offense driving while intoxicated charge. Court records contained no information about the circumstances of any of these offenses, except that they were all nonviolent crimes not directly intended to harm anyone. The Supreme Court looked at the different aspects of Helm’s crime. They examined the nature of his offense, the nature of his sentence, and the sentence he could have received in other States for the same offense. The Supreme Court concluded that on the basis of Helm’s crime, it was “grossly disproportionate to the nature of his offense.” Helm’s crime for writing a bad check was as minute as Barr’s failing to report a change of address to his

probation officer. These cases are distinctively similar except that Helm’s was able to commit twice as many felonies as Barr and the Supreme Court still decided that his sentence unconstitutional. We can not let the courts sentence people to life in prison for small crimes like this. This is not a just system that will give equal sentences to all people. If a judge is in a bad mood he has the authority to put an undeserving criminal away for the rest of his life Dale Broyles, for example, is a 25-year-old man who is charged with being an ex-felon in possession of a weapon. Broyles was deposited drunk and unconscious into the back seat of his car by some of his friends to sleep off his evening binge. The next morning, after his car was repossessed with him still sleeping in it,