Legal brief essay-3 strikes case

Essay by snocaps67High School, 12th gradeA+, March 2008

download word file, 4 pages 0.0

“But it was only a few lousy videotapes!” was probably what Leonardo Andrade thought as he was placed behind bars for life because of the Three Strikes law passed in March of 1994. After being a long-time heroin addict and with a 15-year criminal history consisting of 5 felonies and 2 misdemeanors, was given the sentence of 25 years to life, after attempting to steal videotapes from a local store. The petty theft crime was a crime known as a “wobbler”, a crime that could be punished as a misdemeanor or a felony. Gary Ewing was placed similar situation. He attempted to steal three golf clubs, each priced at about $399. Ewing, also a drug addict, with a criminal history including one violent robbery convictions and several nonviolent burglary convictions, was charged with a felony that counted as his third strike. The two men believed their sentencing to be a violation of the 8th amendment.

They argued that it was a cruel and unusual punishment to be sentenced 25 to life for crimes already punished for and for crimes that are not violent or serious. Andrade’s sentence was affirmed by the state Court of Appeals, and then overturned for being “grossly disproportionate” to the committed crime by the US Court of Appeals in the Ninth Circuit. The Three Strikes law was designed to punish repeat offenders and serious habitual criminals. It was overwhelmingly approved by California voters in November, 1994. Under the law, the first two strikes must be based on violent or serious convictions. After the first strike the second one results in the doubling of the sentence for the committed crime. The third strike is allowed to be a wobbler and must result in a sentence of 25 to life. The first two also could have happened prior...