USA/UK contrast

Reply Wed 6 Aug, 2003 08:17 am
Me again fisher,

this explains my position better than I did.

Californians seem to be noticing that what the law interprets as "three serious, violent crimes" is sometimes at variance with voters' common-sense definition of those terms.
In a telephone poll of 4,200 Californians conducted by the University of California, Riverside, and released last Thursday, 93 percent of Californians said they still believe felons convicted of three serious, violent crimes deserve 25 years to life in prison, as prescribed.
But support for such draconian sentences fell to 65 percent in the case of someone convicted of three "serious" drug-related crimes, and to 47 percent for someone convicted of "three serious property crimes" -- neither number high enough to make a third-offense conviction likely by any randomly-selected jury.
Now, we don't want to get to the point where crime and punishment are decided by folks sitting home and pushing red and green buzzers on their TV remote controls, like some parody science fiction film. When it comes to the constitutional rights of defendants, the majority -- especially a majority inflamed by saturation TV crime coverage -- can sometimes be wrong.
But in this case, the California citizens being polled may be on to something.
A "three-strikes" law makes darned good sense if those being targeted are indeed violent, predatory, habitual rapists, murderers, and armed robbers -- the kind of folks who bash old folks over the head to steal their purses and their televisions.
The problem arises when some aging wino who years ago was convicted once for drug possession and once for drunken driving, gets busted for snitching quarters out of the church collection plate and ends up spending the rest of his life as a guest of the graybar hotel -- at considerable public expense -- because judge and prosecutor shrug and say "It's a third felony; we don't have any choice."
Those who commit victimless crimes -- or lesser property crimes -- are rarely violent predators. If we're feeding them three square meals for life, this net has been cast too wide.
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Reply Fri 8 Aug, 2003 08:25 am
Wow. I do get taken out of context.
No worries, I should have made it clear that there were three distinct sections to what I said.

The first paragraph was basically setting out what I see as being wrong with the current systems, regardless of where you live. They are all the vehicles for the re-election of some self serving politician. The things wrong with this should be self evident.

The next paragraph was a fairly feeble effort at pointing out a solution. Get rid of the rules that are there because they're bollocks and start doing things right from a new start. And I MEAN a new start. Get rid of the politics and the special interest groups etc... and allow the punishment to fit the crime. There's no point in putting a dude away for 20 years for stealing 3 loaves of bread and letting a traffic criminal with 89 convictions to his credit get away essentially scott-free.

The last three sentences were meant to be a new paragraph that was broadly outlining my own opinion. I was in a hurry and wasn't in the mood for taking any truck from muppets who rob Post Offices and murder old ladies, so shoot them in the face and save the taxpayer a lot of cash. Dead easy and there's little mess involved.

I hope that I have made things a little clearer concerning what I said and so hopefully won't be quoted out of context again.
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Reply Mon 11 Aug, 2003 11:53 pm
and If this doesn't show this idiotic law up for what it is I don't know what would:

The "pizza thief"
Probably the most famous 3-strikes case is the pizza thief case. Jerry Dewayne Williams, at the age of 27, was sentenced to prison for 25-years-life for stealing a slice of pepperoni pizza. His crime was a petty theft, but, because of California state law and because of his prior record, Williams theft was classified as a "felony." Williams prior convictions were for robbery, attempted robbery, unauthorized use of a motor vehicle and possession of a controlled substance. See Eric Salter, Pizza Thief Receives Sentence of 25 Years to Life in Prison, LATimes, Mar. 3, 1995, at 9B

Then take a look here:

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Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 08:11 am
Heliotrope! You weren't taken out of context! lol The wording just struck me as funny when I came across it. I apologize if you thought I was doing anything more than just making a casual observation!

Kev, Take a good look at the stories on that URL you provided and then do some investigating into the cases. The entries on that page are all from the convicted themselves, all of course, claiming to be innocent, framed, etc..

The first one I looked at was "Oscar Mata":


Here he claims he was convicted in 1995 for sleeping in a car and sentenced to 26 years to life.

Except he was released in less than 3 years. What do you suppose he's been up to since then?


On July 28, 1998, in the 4400 block of Crow Road, Oakdale, Celestino Mata and his two brothers, Oscar Mata and Ernesto Mata were involved in an argument with victim, Armando Munoz of Oakdale. During which time Celestino pulled a gun on Armando. Oscar Mata then took the gun from Celestino. Oscar went up to Armando and shot him. Armando's wife was present and witnessed the shooting. Armando died at the scene. All three brothers, Celestino, Ernesto and Oscar later fled to Mexico.

In 1999, Oscar Mata and Ernesto Mata were arrested in Mexico for murder.
Oscar Mata was convicted on May 18, 2003 for 1st degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison at Jalisco Federal Prison in Mexico.


Suspect in '98 killing is convicted in Mexico

Published: May 25, 2003, 06:10:04 AM PDT

A suspect in a 1998 Stanislaus County murder has been convicted of the crime in Mexico, the Sheriff's Department reported Friday.
Oscar Sanchez Mata, 28, was convicted May 18 of first-degree murder and received a 20-year prison sentence, Detective Mark Copeland said. Mata is imprisoned in Jalisco.

The Mexican government put Mata on trial under a law that allows prosecution of Mexicans accused of crimes against fellow citizens in other countries.

The killing occurred July 28, 1998, at a dairy on Crow Road between Oakdale and Waterford. Twenty-six-year-old Armando Munoz died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Munoz had been attending a barbecue at the dairy when he and his brother Cesear got into a fight with Mata and his brothers Ernesto and Celestino, investigators said.

The Matas left, only to return 90 minutes later and start fighting again with Cesear Munoz.

When Armando Munoz tried to break up the fight, Oscar Mata shot him once in the head with a handgun, detectives said.

The Mata brothers fled. Mexican authorities caught Oscar and Ernesto in Celaya, Guanajuato, and prosecuted both.

Copeland said Ernesto Mata was absolved of all charges and released.

Celestino Mata, 35, is still wanted on a murder charge, according to Copeland. He said he has received information that Mata, who should be considered armed and dangerous, may be back in Stanislaus County.
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Reply Tue 12 Aug, 2003 10:00 am
Thanks for info fisher, will take a look when it's possible, at the moment navigation is painfully slow, if I had any hair I would pull it out. Will get back to you asap.
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Reply Wed 13 Aug, 2003 03:06 am
No worries Fishin'.
I'm pretty hard to offend. I really did think I hadn't made myself clear. It was just the way you quoted me I suppose.
No apology necessary but thanks anyway :-)
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Reply Sat 16 Aug, 2003 12:59 pm
Your point fishin, on this case, is well taken, but my overall view without making this subject the remainder of my life's work is that the net has indeed been cast too wide.

My original post which has got lost in this dialogue, questioned if lawmakers were capable of getting it right i.e. creating a sensible, rational decision making process that kept the worst, most violent people out of society, whilst at the same time being humanitarian to those who are merely societies **** ups.

I dont think that this law has achieved it's intended purpose.
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Reply Sun 17 Aug, 2003 04:56 pm
Damn right it hasn't succeded.
What it has done is punish society's whackos in an extreme fashion and allowed the hardcore to run around laughing, with their Philadelphia lawyers, at the courts.
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