The California District Attorneys Association has done an excellent study (.pdf) of the horrible Proposition 36 to gut three strikes. In the study they have several examples of people who might be released if this turkey passes. I’ll be featuring several in an ongoing series, starting with this one:
In 1984, Cole was convicted of robbery using a firearm. In 1991 he was convicted of burglary. A year later, Cole was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon. Cole was sentenced to prison for each of these convictions. After his release, he violated parole five times from 1989 through 1997. During this same time, Cole was also convicted of two misdemeanors.
In 1999, Cole was observed driving a stolen vehicle, and police officers attempted to stop him. Instead of stopping in response to police lights and sirens, Cole accelerated rapidly and led police on a chase. He swerved in and out of traffic, reached a speed of more than 85 miles an hour on a residential street, ran two red lights and three stop signs, swerved into opposing lanes of traffic, and nearly crashed into several other cars. Cole finally collided with another vehicle, spun out of control, and his vehicle rolled over. Cole’s passenger and the driver of the other vehicle were injured. Cole fled on foot and was tackled by a police officer.
Cole pled guilty to felony evading arrest, car theft, and felony hit-and-run. He admitted two strike priors, and was sentenced to prison for 25 years to life.
If Cole were re-sentenced pursuant to Proposition 36, his new maximum potential sentence would be no more than eight years and eight months in state prison, reduced further by custody credits since it would be a determinate-term sentence.
We learn a few things here — things I already knew, but that (perhaps) you didn’t. Felony evading is not a “serious or violent” felony. Nor is felony hit and run. Nor, obviously, is car theft.
Remember that the next time you think that non-strikes are no big deal.