Just read this on Democracy Now, about the bizarre and perverse 3-strike rule. Whether some people should get life for their third crime is a different question. To any sane person, or any decent law person, It depends on the crime.
That a country with such allegedly high aspirations for freedom can implement a rule where a person gets life for a third strike sock-stealing raid, or stealing change from a car, or any such non-violent crime, and the public isn’t in an uproar, makes me wonder if the Law isn’t simultaneously a test by the Government and Law authorities to see how far a public can be pushed by unjust laws and do nothing (take note you New World Orderites). I am reminded of those ghastly and infamous yet revealing Stanley Milgram/Obedience to Authority experiments from the early 1960s.
From Democracy Now:
MICHAEL ROMANO: So, Proposition 36 [the three strikes reform bill] is one of those rare laws that’s actually been sort of tried in a laboratory. Steve Cooley, who is the district attorney for the largest prosecution office in the country, has voluntarily implemented Proposition 36 over the past 10 years. And crime in Los Angeles County is down more than it is throughout the state. So, the idea that this is some sort of soft-on-crime measure, I think, is belied by, you know, the experience in Los Angeles.
And I do want to say that Judge Cordell [who left the bench in part in protest of the law] is being too modest here. Really, when she stepped down from the bench, she took it on herself to really be the clarion call about what’s going on with three-strikers. And, you know, they are not high-profile crimes. They’re petty thieves and pickpockets and drug users.
AMY GOODMAN: Dale Gaines—can you tell us his story?
MICHAEL ROMANO: Sure. So, Dale Gaines is one of my clients, and he was sentenced to life for possession of stolen property. He’s mentally retarded and severely mentally ill. He was homeless and drug-addicted for decades, prior to being sentenced to life in prison. And he has never hurt anybody in his life. He was found mentally incompetent to stand trial, but still his public defender waived that issue, went to trial, put on absolutely no evidence in his defense. And that’s what I was sort of alluding to, in that these are—they’re small cases. They’re not being handled by experienced attorneys. It’s the most overworked public defenders and prosecutors. And then they’re sentenced to life.
AMY GOODMAN: Shane Taylor?
MICHAEL ROMANO: Shane Taylor is a—the judge in Shane Taylor’s case who sentenced him to life called me and said, “I made a horrible mistake. Can you do something to represent this guy who I sentenced to life for 0.1 grams of methamphetamine?” It’s a speck—
AMY GOODMAN: Possession?
MICHAEL ROMANO: For simple possession. It’s a speck. It’s like a tiny fingernail. He’s never hurt anybody before in his life, either. The prosecutor in his case, the judge in his case all think he’s serving too much time, yet courts have refused—refused to do anything about his situation.
Insane. If this is karma, have mercy. May our children be born in good fortune and beautiful communities.