California liberals are trying to modify one of the most successful crime reduction programs ever, as reported by the Sacramento Bee, it will probably fail again, as it has in the past.
“Stanford legal minds conceived the measure. A prosecutor from Los Angeles vetted it. The godfather of its original design is fighting it.
“Come November, California voters will decide if it stands.
“Proposition 36 gives the state’s electorate another opportunity to weigh in on California’s 18-year-old “three-strikes” law, the toughest career-criminal sentencing statute in the nation.
“Twice in as many decades, voters have sided in favor of a three-strikes law that allows judges to impose a life prison term for offenders who commit a third felony – no matter how minor – if they have two previous serious or violent criminal convictions on their records.
“Proposition 36 proponents want to change the law to restrict the 25-years-to-life sentences, with some exceptions, to criminals whose third felony was serious or violent; nothing less than a residential burglary would qualify as a strike.
“The measure would enable an estimated 3,000 of the 8,873 prisoners serving 25-years-to-life terms in the state as of June 30 to apply for resentencing hearings. If their motions for new terms are granted, a good number of those 3,000 prisoners could go free. The Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates passage of Proposition 36 could save the state anywhere from $70 million to $90 million a year in reduced prison costs.
“The initiative has had huge cash infusions from two sources.
“Billionaire financier George Soros, the international hedge fund manager who has contributed millions over the years to change drug laws and other statutes he believes are too harsh, kicked in $500,000, according to the secretary of state’s records.
“David W. Mills, a Stanford law professor and private investment manager, matched and raised the contribution. Mills, a co-chair of the NAACP’s Legal Defense Fund, put in $878,000.
“The money Soros and Mills contributed paid for the $1.4 million signature-gathering effort that qualified Proposition 36 for the Nov. 6 ballot.”