Patterico's Pontifications

11/3/2004

Man of the Day: Henry Nicholas

Filed under: No on 66 — Patterico @ 6:14 pm

I am through fretting and am prepared to declare that Proposition 66 has been defeated.

I said a while back about Proposition 66:

This initiative will not be defeated absent something startling — a huge influx of money, a strong campaign waged by Governor Arnold, or a massive and spirited talk-radio campaign. Chances are, even all three will not be enough.

But, though I predicted defeat, I wasn’t a defeatist. There is a difference between assessing your chances as low, and giving up. I thought we would lose this battle — but in life, it’s often most important to fight the battles you think you are going to lose. As I said then:

The road ahead will be tough — so tough that it’s tempting simply to give up. But we can’t. Although it will be a difficult and expensive fight, it’s a fight worth fighting.

The road was tough. A few weeks back, we had a lot of good talk radio support, but Arnold had not stepped up to the plate, and the money was not there.

Eventually, we got all three — and it was enough.

I have had my doubts about Arnold in the past, but he came through for us here.

But the most important part was the money, which allowed opponents of 66 to educate the public about what was really at stake. And so, as alert reader Hank K. points out to me, we owe a big debt of gratitude to Henry Nicholas, who largely financed the opposition in the closing days of the campaign. I have absolutely no doubt that Mr. Nicholas’s contributions to the anti-66 campaign saved lives. He should be the happiest man in California tonight, knowing that he has helped to keep our streets safe.

Join me in thanking Henry Nicholas.

P.S. Just because this flawed proposition was voted down, does not mean that all is hunky-dory with the Three Strikes law. Californians were educated about the deficiencies in this proposed fix, but they clearly think the law should be changed. And, in some cases, it’s the right thing to do. So let’s preempt another such initiative, and work with the legislature to pass reasonable reform.

Any such reform cannot let dangerous criminals out, regardless of whether their current crime is a petty theft or a drug offense. I don’t want the criminals I have discussed in my numerous anti-66 posts getting out. But judges should be given wider discretion to reduce third-strike sentences retroactively. And there should be a presumption that prosecutors are not to seek 25-to-life for current non-strike offenses — but a presumption that can be overcome when the criminal’s history is particularly egregious, or the current offense indicates dangerousness, or a lack of reform on the defendant’s part.

Keep Jerry Keenan five miles away from it. Sam Clauder, too. Get DAs in on the discussion. But with that in mind, let’s get something done.

P.P.S. PrestoPundit reports that my energetic colleague Steve Ipsen was instrumental in inspiring Nicholas to get involved. Great going, Steve!

22 Responses to “Man of the Day: Henry Nicholas”

  1. Thank you, Mr. Nicholas. I live 1500 miles from California, but you have made my streets safer as well. Thank you, and God bless you.

    And thank you, Patterico, for all that you have done as well.

    Teri (c99f0c)

  2. So, Patterico, Proposition 66, with all its beauty marks and warts, fails. Given a fresh start, how would you solve the problem that it’s still overinclusive?

    The swing in public opinion on Prop. 66 tells us that Californians think the 3 Strikes Law is overinclusive, but, when confronted with the prospect of the release of 26,000 felons, including sex offenders and murderers, they didn’t want to fix it the Prop. 66 way.

    With that in mind, how about: (1) leave the serious & violent felony lists alone (no matter how much I’d like to get 422’s off that list); (2) require a current conviction for a serious or violent felony for a 3d strike 25-to-life sentence; (3) allow 2d-strike sentencing (doubling of base term) for any current felony (with one prior serious or violent felony); (4) expressly provide for resentencing for third strikers only (no one need worry that release of 26K inmates is imminent), but no resentencing for third strikers who have prior homicide or sex offense convictions.

    J. Soglin (f59fd6)

  3. Don’t agree with all your proposals, but see my postscript.

    (1) and (3) work.

    (2) — I would say, don’t “require” it, but make it a rebuttable presumption, something like the way Steve Cooley handles it in L.A.

    (4) is getting there, but I’d rather just allow retroactive sentencing with wider discretion for judges to let the non-dangerous get out.

    Patterico (756436)

  4. So now we are punishing criminals as major felons (who have paid their debt to society) with major time for minor infractions?

    Why not just make the sentence for the first offence stiffer?

    Your streets will be safer when you stop subsidising criminals with the prohibition laws.

    Or hadn’t that occured to you?

    M. Simon (f6a1aa)

  5. Retroactive sentencing? More discretion for judges? I thought judicial discretion is what brought on the 3 strikes laws in the first place.

    I thought the deterrent effect of the law worked best when the punishments were known in advance.

    Are you trying to turn criminal law into a lottery?

    I also was under the impression that what made our legal system great was that things like retroactive sentencing were out of bounds.

    One paid for one’s crimes. Not for being a criminal.

    Now of course if we are going this far and because we know that crime tends to run in families perhaps we ought to try family punishments?

    Between the prohibition laws and this absurd three strikes stuff ar you tring to ruin all respect for the justice system?

    Or just trying to increase the rates for judicial bribery?

    M. Simon (f6a1aa)

  6. The words THANK YOU are not enough to express my gratitude to Mr. Nicholas, Former Governor Wilson, Governor “Arnold” and all the “real” players in defeating this proposition.
    Including Patterico and all the comments. I have learned more than I ever wanted reading this blog for the last 4 months.
    The havoc created by one signature at the bottom of a check is overwhelming.
    Along with thousands of others, Richard Keenan will stay in prison to serve out his sentence.
    Hopefully now, my family will have this horrific burdeon lifted and can focus on my Son’s memory for the holidays.
    Again, a sincere and heartfelt Thank you to all of you for all your support.
    S Souza

    ssouza (3b3c88)

  7. Funny but the LAT overlooked the fact that 66 was a clasic case of special interest law making. More importantly very rich man speical interest law making.
    Rod Stanton
    Cerritos

    Rod Stanton (f10b45)

  8. Does anyone know or even care that CAVC’s efforts to change the three strikes began in 1999, well before Keenan came along? How about Marc Klass’ efforts to speak out against it, only to be steamrolled?? Oh, but right, this is one man’s effort to “buy a law”, nevermind what everyone before him said and did!

    The following is a quote from Marc Klaas in 1998:

    “They voted out of consideration for Polly because the Three Strikes people basically co-opted my daughter’s name,” he says. “It didn’t
    matter what we said. They rolled over us like a freight train. I think Jesus Christ resurrected could have come out against it, and they would have labeled him a liberal heretic.”

    How sad that they continued to use his daughter’s name to serve there own purpose despite a desperate father’s plea against the initiative after learning the truth.

    And to Ms. Souza and others who would like more information on the Keenan case and her own involvement which led up to it just read here:

    http://www.indybay.org/news/2004/10/1701486.php

    And if you think a solution involving DA’s is the way to go, that’s where you’re sadly mistaken. I once heard a famous talk radio show host (one the likes of you frequently listen to)talking about prop 66 who in one minute was talking about how judges have discretion and they don’t have to impose a three-strike sentence where it’s not warranted, so why do we need to change anything, right? Well no sooner does he finish with that little tidbit, does he give away to everyone the strategy he uses for electing a judge. He says he only votes for the judges that say they were/are DA’s, “cuz I know that their the ones that are going to go after the criminal!”

    In all my years, I’ve never seen a more biased, blind group of relentless bloodsucking leeches than district attorneys. And don’t anyone try and tell me they have to be that way for the victims. I’ve been a victim myself as well as a few friends and they have been just as cold and unfeeling to us. I believe it’s just their nature to lack commpassion for anyone outside their untouched self-serving little world. SAD!!!!

    Liz Davis (e583b1)

  9. Lovely.

    Wonder why Marc Klaas is described as a Prop. 66 “opponent” who called Governor Schwarzenegger an “angel” for opposing the proposition.

    Thanks so much for providing a link to a story that blames the parents of the dead, based on an affidavit signed by someone who had been put on Jerry Keenan’s payroll. Nothing is so unconvincing as placing the blame for deaths caused by a drunk and stoned driver on the parents, rather than on the person who chose to drive drunk and stoned.

    Your use of that link to prove your point utterly discredits you in the eyes of anyone with any rationality.

    Patterico (0973eb)

  10. This is one of the most unjust laws I have ever seen. For the rich man that lost his son to a criminal, I am truly sorry. But you know what, we will all have to answer to God one day and you cannot judge people as a whole based on your misfortune. If your son is in heaven, I am sure he would want to say dad, let it go, I want you to come to heaven to one day. Holding a grudge and hatred in your heart does not benefit you or your family, or perhaps you think it does. Why is it that serious violent offenders are on the streets anyway. This law has never targeted those person committing rape and child molestation, if it did, when those predators are caught, the headlines would not read, he previously assaulted several children. I have to think that you bureaucrats actually want these kinds of people on the streets, because the people I see suffering under this law or poor minorities who are spending life in prison for previous crimes before this law was implemented. And those crimes are not ones that make my children subject to become victims. You will never see a rich man in jail, but the Lord says vengeance is mine. In keeping this law the way it is, you are reaping havoc in other families lifes. Families that cannot afford attorney or proper representation. I don’t know how any of you who support this law can sleep good at night. My husband is not a murderer, child molestor, rapist or the such, but he is serving a 89 year to life sentence under this law. You tell me what is fair about that. I see child molestors, rapists and even murderers with less time. So when they are arrested, because they have no previous criminal history, they get a slap on the hand and are back on the streets. My husband did committed two crimes when he was 16, oh yeah, taking a kids bike and attempting to snatch a womans purse, and I might add, he served 5 years for that period of behavior, and then you come out with a law years later that says, well because you took a plea bargain without knowledge that we would make you pay for your crimes again in the future, you are now behind bars for life! Might I add that in both of those incidents, no one was hurt. The time needs to fit the crime. You cannot just sending people away with life sentences. We will all have to answer to God one day, and my children would like to have their dad home as well, sorry, we are not rich, we are getting evicted as I write, but on that day, even if you are an atheist, you will have to stand before him, and I feel sure that you will think about what I had to say here. In fact, until you learn to forgive, God will not forgive you for your transgressions, Money can’t buy forgiveness, it may buy Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you can’t buy God!

    Tai Wells (350110)

  11. He must have used force or threats to take the bike and try to “snatch” the purse or they wouldn’t be strikes.

    You didn’t tell us what his last crimes were, but the 89-to-life sentence suggests at least three separate serious/violent felonies committed in his last case, plus 4 prior prison terms.

    Did I guess right?

    I feel badly for you that you must live your life with your husband behind bars. But I also feel for his victims.

    Patterico (756436)

  12. Ms. Wells, nice try at minimizing your husband’s criminal record. But, I’ve seen too many rap sheets to believe the facts as you relate them. I also note that you do not say what your husband’s offenses are that got him the 89 years in prison.

    julie (fa7d94)

  13. Here’s my guess: 2 juvenile robberies resulting in 2 strikes. 3 robberies with sentencing per Three Strikes resulting in 25 to live consecutive. Additional 10 years for use of a gun. Plus, 1 year each for 4 prior adult felony convictions (non strikes) resulting in prison sentences and in which your husband failed to remain prison free for five years. That would add up to 89 years.

    julie (fa7d94)

  14. Yes, Marc Klaas is an opponent…now! That’s my point. You people have only listenened to him when he’s been on your side. He supports three strikes, then he doesn’t, then he does, then he doesn’t and now he does again. Anyone out there aware that he’s turned himself into the very likes of those which he’s trying to keep behind bars. This man was nearly arrested for beating the crap out of one of his girlfriends!!

    And as much as I am sure you’d like to be right, the authors of the link I gave you, are not on Keenan’s payroll. My God, should we all believe that you’re on Nicholas’s, the CCPOA’s, or the Governor’s payroll because of the information you’ve put out against prop 66? Hmmm??

    In your next conversation with Ms. Souza be sure to ask her how many times she gets behind the wheel after a night of partying it up. Isn’t your duty as a District Attorney to lock her up for 25-life for a crime she hasn’t yet committed but but armed with this information, she may likely not just commit any old crime, but kill someone?

    And please don’t play the b-s “He must have used force or threats…” game here. As a D.A. surely you know that a stolen bicycle out of an unlocked gagage is first degree residential burglary, i.e. a serious felony and strike. Tell me, was that the force or fear you had in mind? Do it once and he’s likely to get 2 years. Do it again and he’ll likely get 4 years doubled, PLUS a five year enhancenment for the current conviction being serious. That’s 13 years at 80% time. Do it again and, well, you know. Does this really seem like justice???

    Liz Davis (2721a3)

  15. Yup, if someone committed a residential burglary to steal the bike, that would be a strike. But my commenter with the inmate husband didn’t tell us about the residential burglary part, did she?

    Save your personal attacks on Marc Klaas. Why must you repeatedly issue personal attacks on people whose children have been killed by criminals? That is pathological and does *not* gain you sympathy for your cause.

    You also don’t read too carefully. I didn’t say the authors of the link were on Keenan’s payroll. I said the person who wrote the affidavit described in the story was. You didn’t read what I said and you didn’t follow my link. You are adding nothing to the discussion except to show the irrationality and nastiness of some supporters of 66.

    As for your last question, I’d love for all citizens who have been victims of residential burglary to read it and answer it for themselves.

    Patterico (756436)

  16. Pathological? And tell me once again how many times you’ve posted on this subject leading people to believe that the horrible people you describe represent all who would have been released if it prop 66 passed. I don’t think you clarified strongly enough that they would be release because they are NOT CURRENTLY doing time for thosse horrible crimes. You should’ve given some explanation why you didn’t use laws you could have to put them away for much longer the first time around. Then maybe I could hold you less responsible for their seconcd horrible crime. But now you’ve got the three strikes law which does the job for you. Only not only does it get the really bad guys, but it catches thousands of less deserving along with them. Now who’s pathological?

    Liz Davis (2721a3)

  17. You should’ve given some explanation why you didn’t use laws you could have to put them away for much longer the first time around.

    The explanation is that sentencing in California was once very lenient.

    I do not want to fight with you. I just want to emphasize to you that continually blaming the relatives of children killed by criminals is not the way to garner sympathy for your cause.

    Patterico (756436)

  18. Are you just making things up as you go along? Because it is impossible to follow you let alone have an intelligent debate. And yes, your cheap shots at victims is pathological. But at least it demonstrates what kind of person you really are. To you everybody is responsible except the person in prison. Everybody who disagrees with you is a bloodsucking leech. Luckily, any cause you advocate for will undoubtedly lose. So, thank you for helping defeat Prop 66. We couldn’t have done it without you. :)

    julie (a2673a)

  19. To Julie,
    No you are wrong, the previous crimes for my husband, taking a bike from another teen; and attempting to snatch a ladies purse,which they were chased off in the process did not result in anyone being hurt physically. As for the last crime, the victim was my brother, who by any means is not some citizen free of his own criminal convictions. Mr Patterico, you said you feel sorry for the victims, well we are all victims now. There is a division within my family which is driving my mother crazy in her old age. I tend to not go around because what joy is it for me to sit with them during the holidays and my children do not have their father to share with nor do I. The DA threatened my parents to testify against my husband and even threw one of my brothers in jail because of his implication that my family should not testify as the system’s goal is to throw people, especially minorities in jail for a lifetime. How is that justice. The victims did not want him to get a life sentence and it was an isolated incident. I don’t understand how you can implement a law in 1994 and then have it retroactively go back and prosecute people for a longer sentence. I don’t care how you look at it, it is unfair. If that is the case, what about when the entered laws for setting slaves free, who pays for all of the hideous crimes that were imposed on blacks and their families by these violent heartless people. Should the law then be retroactive and make the families of those who committed such crimes pay for their sick families actions! I had to pay child support for my children for years because the DA was trying to get back at me and then they came out with a law that said I no longer had to pay child support, but they did not go back retroactively and give me back all of the money I paid. Apparently all of you people that are for this three strikes are either prejudice or are not aware of the broad spectrum of the people it affects. My husband is different than he was at 16 I am sure there are many of us that have done things in the past, that perhaps we have not gotten caught for. My husband is not targeting people to rob, rape or kill them. The last situation was an isolated situation. His other charges were conspiracy to sell a controlled substance, and possesion of a firearm. I am not saying that these are good things, I am just saying these are not things that warrant someone spending 89 years behind bars as a threat to society. I encounter much worse people on our streets. You say what you want, the final resolve lays with God, what he says will happen and I believe he will send my husband home, despite your continued efforts and if prop. 66 never is on the ballot again. I trust in him. I will pray for you and pray that your family never falls victim to some tragedy that you are requesting help for. Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. Colossians 3:13 NIV; Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (emancipation from bondage, freedom. 2 Corinithians

    Tai Wells (350110)

  20. Ms. Wells,

    It is not my intent to get into a fight with the family of a convict. I often feel that defendants’ families are victims too. Best wishes to you.

    Patterico (756436)

  21. Thank you Mr. Nicholas – but thanks should also go to Jerry Brown. I live in Northern California and watched the Prop 66 tide turn from overwhelmingly Yes to an even split. As nice as it was to see Arnold on TV uring a No vote, it wasn’t until many of my neighbors got a recorded call from the most liberal governor California ever had urging them to vote No on 66 that opinions in Northern California changed. Had 66 passed Oakland would have been flooded with more criminals. If these people weren’t dangerous then governor moon beam wouldn’t have cared. Obviously the people who would have been released under Prop 66 are dangerous – otherwise Jerry wouldn’t have spoken out against 66.

    Thanks Mr. Nicholas and thanks Jerry Brown.

    As for how to “fix” the Three Strikes Law I have a suggestion.

    1) If the current offense is a serious or violent felony then the sentence is 25 to life. Judges still get their discretion under Romero.

    2) If the current offense is any other felony then if the judge doesn’t dismiss a prior strike under Romero the sentence is like that for premeditated attempted murder and kidnapping to commit robbery – life with the possibility of parole after 7 years. If the person is truly dangerous the parole board won’t grant parole. If the person is just a non violent career criminal then the parole board can grant parole after 7 years and see how they do in the community.

    3) Resentence people currently serving 25 to life sentences under the guidelines above. No one gets released immediately because everyone who gets their sentence reduced to “7 to life” has to get vetted by the parole board first.

    Jim (657194)

  22. http://www.crimblawg.com/2004/11/three_strikes_l.html
    Three Strikes Law Still Overinclusive! As I commented over at Patterico’s Pontifications (Patterico is a deputy d.a.), the swing in public opinion on Prop. 66 tells us that Californians think the 3 Strikes Law is overinclusive, but, when confronted with

    Criminal Appeal (af7df9)


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