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Legal Brief Essay 3 Strikes Case

1078 words - 4 pages

“But it was only a few lousy videotapes!” was probably what Leonardo Andrade thought as he was placed behind bars for life because of the Three Strikes law passed in March of 1994. After being a long-time heroin addict and with a 15-year criminal history consisting of 5 felonies and 2 misdemeanors, was given the sentence of 25 years to life, after attempting to steal videotapes from a local store. The petty theft crime was a crime known as a “wobbler”, a crime that could be punished as a misdemeanor or a felony. Gary Ewing was placed similar situation. He attempted to steal three golf clubs, each priced at about $399. Ewing, also a drug addict, with a criminal history including one violent robbery convictions and several nonviolent burglary convictions, was charged with a felony that counted as his third strike. The two men believed their sentencing to be a violation of the 8th amendment. They argued that it was a cruel and unusual punishment to be sentenced 25 to life for crimes already punished for and for crimes that are not violent or serious. Andrade’s sentence was affirmed by the state Court of Appeals, and then overturned for being “grossly disproportionate” to the committed crime by the US Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit. The Three Strikes law was designed to punish repeat offenders and serious habitual criminals. It was overwhelmingly approved by California voters in November, 1994. Under the law, the first two strikes must be based on violent or serious convictions. After the first strike the second one results in the doubling of the sentence for the committed crime. The third strike is allowed to be a wobbler and must result in a sentence of 25 to life. The first two also could have happened prior to the passing of the law. The two men appeal to the US Supreme Court for superior decisions. Close research of the case shows that the Three Strikes law does not violate the 8th amendment.The law is intended to stop repeat offenders and habitual criminals from committing crimes and keep them away from the rest of society. Its purpose is legitimate, and has been approved by California voters, and the judges should respect voter’s choice. And if criminals are constantly committing crimes, no matter the seriousness, then they haven’t learned their lesson, and the punishments are not harsh enough for them to do so. It is the government’s job to take care of its nation, and ridding society of its criminals is doing just that. Andrade and Ewing both have a heavy criminal record, Andrade had five felonies, and Ewing was convicted of a violent robbery. They have been to prison and paid their dues, but the consequences of their actions were meaningless to them, which is why they’ve committed several more crimes. Now they must go to prison with a sentence of at least 25 for being repeat offenders and habitual criminals. If California thought this was a violation of the Eighth amendment they...

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