LA's Bratton Seeks to Reform Three Strikes Laws

LA Police Chief Bill Bratton has joined the effort to reform three-strikes laws in California by requiring the third strike to be a serious or violent crime.

Los Angeles County Dist. Atty. Steve Cooley, who is pushing a ballot initiative to soften the tough law, said at a news conference Thursday that he had won the chiefs' backing....Cooley has long criticized the breadth of the state's law, which sometimes results in sentences of 25 years to life for those whose third strikes were nonviolent or minor crimes. His ballot initiative, coauthored with defense lawyer Brian Dunn, would limit third strikes in most cases to violent or serious offenses.

Bratton, through a spokesman, called the proposal "a balanced approach that will benefit the criminal justice system without jeopardizing public safety."

The reform would be via a ballot initiative put to California's voters in November. This is good for Bratton and good for Californians. The voters passed three-strikes in 1994, and likely never intended it to be used to impose life sentences on those whose third strikes were minor shoplifting type offenses.

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    May this be the first correction, with many more to come. The prison system in California is brutal, unfair and overcrowded, not to mention expensive. The "tough on crime" (read: tough luck) politicians have allowed the prison guard union to run amok. I hope that the public will have the good sense to back new legislation.

    Mark my words, if they "reform" three strikes, we are going to see a rise in the rate of pizza and children's video robberies. This link is not safe for complacency.