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T he weight that should be given prior convictions in a California Three Strikes sentence emerged as a primary issue in arguments Wednesday before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The court was hearing challenges brought by two California inmates who drew 25-years-to-life sentences after shoplifting convictions. Last month, another 9th Circuit panel decided that a 50-years-to-life sentence for stealing videotapes from Kmart was cruel and unusual punishment.

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