PROPOSITION 47 AND 3 STRIKES
by Mike Reynolds, 13 August 2014
The simple overview sums up Prop. 47 as reducing approximately 400 offenses on the California felony list to only misdemeanors when the amount of the loss is less than $950. It then would require time to be served as 1 year or less in county jail. This, of course, is subject to 50% time credits.
There is, however, a more damaging aspect to California’s 3 Strikes law that goes beyond the impact of Prop. 36. Prop. 36 reduced all third strikes that were not serious or violent to second strike status requiring that the penalty for the non serious or violent felony be doubled and 80% of the time be served in “state prison.”
Now many offenders walking our streets with strikes are facing second strike penalties if they commit a new felony.
If the new felony is serious or violent the sentence is 25 years to life. If the new felony conviction is not serious or violent, then Prop. 36 prescribes the time to be doubled and 80% must be served in a state prison (in other words a second strike).
Prop. 47 totally removes these crimes as felonies regardless of your prior convictions (the exceptions are child molestation, rape and murder). Very few of this type ever get out to begin with.
An extraordinarily high percentage of felons exiting state prison have at least one strike, now making them eligible for second strike sentencing for any new felony convictions.
This will all change if Prop. 47 passes in November.
A projected drop in prison population of 10,000 inmates is estimated by legislative analyst office. They also project 40,000 convictions per year that are now felonies would be simple misdemeanors if Prop. 47 passes.
While yet to be seen, it is easy to envision this stripping tens of thousands of inmates from state prison and dumping them in overcrowded county jails who then release them onto our streets.
It is also hard to imagine prosecutors taking the time and effort to try misdemeanor cases. In turn cops won’t make an effort to investigate or arrest criminals who won’t be prosecuted or incarcerated.