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in a 5-4 decision, the justices reversed a ruling by the 9th Circuit that had overturned a judgment by the California Court of Appeal that California’s “three strikes” law did not violate the constitutional prohibition against cruel and unusual punishment. Lockyer v. Andrade, No. 01-1127 The court held that the California appeals court decision affirming a sentence of two consecutive terms of 25 years to life on a defendant, who was charged with felony counts of petty theft with a prior conviction after stealing $150 worth of videotapes from two different stores, was not contrary to, nor an unreasonable application of, the court’s clearly established law. O’Connor’s opinion was joined by Rehnquist, Scalia, Kennedy and Thomas. Souter, joined by Stevens, Ginsburg and Breyer, dissented.

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