Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court decisions effectively shut the door on legal challenges to California’s Three Strikes sentencing scheme, according to both opponents and supporters of the law. The majority opinions left little, if any, room for recidivists to challenge life sentences as cruel and unusual punishment. Because Leandro Andrade and Gary Ewing are serving life sentences for relatively minor theft crimes, further Eighth Amendment challenges to a Three Strikes sentence would be a waste of time. “If Andrade and Ewing didn’t win, I can’t imagine what would,” said Erwin Chemerinsky, the University of Southern California law professor who argued Andrade at the Supreme Court. Chemerinsky said any change to the law will almost assuredly have to come through the legislative process, something he hopes will happen. “We have to change the law,” he said. Toward that end, Assemblywoman Jackie Goldberg, D-Los Angeles, is pushing AB 112 through the California legislature. The proposed amendments, which could be put before voters as early as March 2004, change California’s Three Strikes law to make only serious or violent felonies eligible for third-strike consideration. The bill was voted out of the Assembly Committee on Public Safety last week with a 4-3- vote. “Mainly it would not apply to most of the property crimes — theft, petty theft, second-degree burglary, and most of the drug crimes,” said Curtis Notsinneh, Goldberg’s legislative aide. It would also allow Three Strikes inmates to obtain a re-trial on their third strike, with prosecutors also given the chance to allege any prior crimes not alleged in the original trial. “We’re not trying to give somebody a get-out-of-jail-free card,” Notsinneh said. But Michael Rushford, president of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in Sacramento, doesn’t give the bill much of a chance. He said Goldberg is among a group of legislators who have proposed amendments in the past, and said Gov. Gray Davis may not have the political will to sign it if it does pass. “If I was a betting man, I would bet [the governor] would veto it,” Rushford said. In a statement Wednesday, Davis said he was “happy” with the high court’s decision. Rushford agreed that another court challenge is all but out of the question. “It was a real slam-dunk decision,” he said. Rushford’s group had a good day, coming in on the winning side in three Supreme Court decisions Wednesday — the two Three Strikes cases and a Megan’s law case out of the Ninth Circuit. “I think we’re going to have a few beers here in a little bit,” Rushford said.

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.