Patterico's Pontifications


A Fatal Flaw in Proposition 66?

Filed under: No on 66 — Patterico @ 3:57 pm

The version of Proposition 66 that we will vote on Tuesday is not the same version that was shown to voters when signatures were being collected. How different the two versions are in substance remains to be seen. But if the proposition passes, opponents should look into this issue further. The differences between the two versions could be significant enough to give opponents a legal challenge to the measure if it passes.

Here is my evidence:

Criminal Justice Professor on Three Strikes

Filed under: No on 66 — Patterico @ 1:30 pm

Via PrestoPundit, here is a radio segment from the John and Ken show featuring Cal State Los Angeles Professor Jennifer Walsh, who has done a study on the effectiveness of Three Strikes called Tough for Whom?

Prof. Walsh concludes that the law has been very effective in targeting the right people. She also mentions a very important point that I have made before: Three Strikes actually saves money, by preventing crimes that would cost society millions. At the very least, these savings should be considered as an offset against increased prison costs.

Finally, she makes a fascinating point that I have overlooked in this discussion: many people serving second-strike sentences are actually third-strikers who already received leniency from a judge in the form of having one or more of their strikes stricken. If the law is interpreted to apply retroactively to second-strikers, then these people will end up getting two breaks — the one they already got from a judge, and a second break from Proposition 66.

Survey on Proposition 66

Filed under: No on 66 — Patterico @ 10:55 am

I have a question for the readers. Has my coverage of Proposition 66 had any influence on how you (or anyone close to you) will vote on the initiative? Is there anyone whose mind was changed by reading my posts? If so, what was the most significant factor in your decision?

I would truly appreciate any feedback on this.

Daily Breeze: No on 66

Filed under: No on 66 — Patterico @ 2:06 am

The Daily Breeze, a South Bay newspaper, has announced that it opposes Prop. 66. The paper cites the case of child molester Joseph Noble, who was prosecuted by my wife, as an example of the type of criminal who could be released by the initiative:

Among the prisoners serving three-strikes sentences who could qualify for such resentencing hearings is Joseph Noble, the region’s most infamous child molester. Noble has a 26-year criminal history that has included kidnapping and indecent exposure.

In 2001, Noble was sentenced to 25 years to life based on his conviction for a nonviolent third strike: two counts of indecent exposure for masturbating in front of two women jailers. Should Proposition 66 pass, Noble could see his prison sentence reduced, leading to an early release.

The truth is, the three-strikes law was designed to put away those who, like Noble, are serious threats to communities.

The bottom line is that the Daily Breeze has done enough articles about the little girls molested by Joseph Noble. They don’t want to do any more.

Serial Bank Robber Faces One Strike

Filed under: No on 66 — Patterico @ 2:00 am

The Daily Breeze reports: Suspect in 25 bank robberies is caught.

If brought to trial and convicted of all 25 robberies, David Lee Robinson will have 25 strikes on his record. Or, if Proposition 66 passes, he’ll have only one.

UPDATE: Actually, looking at the article again, it appears that he has 30 previous convictions for bank robbery. So I was wrong: if Proposition 66 passes, he will have exactly two strikes for his 55 robbery convictions.

New York Times on Proposition 66

Filed under: No on 66 — Patterico @ 1:11 am

I’d almost be willing to sign onto the New York Times‘s editorial endorsing California’s Proposition 66 — that is, as long as Times editors are willing to spring for a mandatory one-way ticket to New York City for each repeat violent felon released by the initiative.

Failing that, I’d like to gently encourage the editors at the New York Times to mind their own goddamned business.


Yet Another Challenge for the Supporters of Proposition 66

Filed under: No on 66 — Patterico @ 11:15 pm

I am issuing a lot of challenges to supporters of Proposition 66 these days, and previous few supporters are stepping up to the plate. I am nevertheless undaunted, and issue this new challenge to people like Joe Klaas, who maintain that it’s dishonest to claim that the proposition might resentence 22,000 second-strike inmates (along with the 4,000 third-strike inmates that everyone agrees will be resentenced).

Here is my question to you, Joe Klaas, and everyone making the same claim:

The language of the proposition says that the resentencing provisions apply to everyone sentenced under the strike law, “including, but not limited to” third strikers who received life sentences under the law.

So, all you folks who so glibly accuse others of being liars: answer me this — just what the hell does the “not limited to” language refer to, if not second-strikers???

Don’t hide behind the skirts of the state Legislative Counsel, or some dumb-ass Superior Court judge in Sacramento. You want to call people liars, then you give me your own legal analysis. What does the “not limited to” language mean?

What do you want to bet I don’t get one damned reasoned response to this question?

Not-So-Hypothetical Proposition 66 Question

Filed under: No on 66 — Patterico @ 10:39 pm

I would like to present the following question to Proposition 66 supporters. Our not-so-hypothetical defendant is a gang member who earns two strike convictions in the late ’80s and early ’90s for arson and robbery. In the late 1990s, he picks up two new felony convictions, for domestic violence and drug sales.

Should this man receive a 25-to-life sentence for either offense? (Hint: under Proposition 66, he cannot.)

If you answered “no,” then congratulations. You just freed the man who killed LAPD officer Ricardo Lizarraga earlier this year.

Don’t Lose Heart! Proposition 66 May Lose Yet!

Filed under: No on 66 — Patterico @ 10:08 pm

Tonight, I sent out a chain-letter e-mail containing the text of my op-ed opposing Proposition 66. In reply, Three Strikes supporter Mike Reynolds sent me an e-mail this evening with some very good news. Hold on to your hats:

Pat, the Field Poll ( has prop 66 down by one point (as of Oct. 27), a big decrease from the 53% approval they enjoyed just last week. Still it is not time to relax our efforts. I’ll forward your chain email on to some friends and hopefully they know some undecideds.

I was shocked by this. The last polls I saw showed 3-1 support for the measure.

Spurred by Mike’s e-mail, I hopped on the internet and searched for proof of his statement. Sure enough, it’s true:

SACRAMENTO — Proposition 66, which would restrict the “three strikes” sentencing law, is in jeopardy after enjoying strong support throughout most of the campaign, according to a new Field Poll.

The trend against the initiative on Tuesday’s ballot comes as opponents, led by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, have geared up a late campaign blitz to defeat it.

“I’ve never seen anything like this, where it’s moving so much within the final week,” said Mark DiCamillo, director of the nonpartisan Field Poll.

During the first part of the survey, from Oct. 21 through Oct. 24, likely voters who had heard of the measure strongly supported it, 58 percent to 34 percent. But between Monday and Wednesday, support among voters who had heard of the measure dropped dramatically, with 46 percent supporting and 47 percent opposing the measure.

In the past week, the opposition campaign, which had been nearly invisible, sprang into action by running an ad featuring Schwarzenegger urging voters to reject the measure because it would let dangerous criminals out of prison.

The ad was part of a last-minute drive by prison guards, the governor and wealthy businessman Henry Nicholas to defeat the measure. Schwarzenegger plans to highlight his opposition today on a bus tour that begins in Del Mar.

“The opposition campaign suddenly emerged,” DiCamillo said.

Backers have also increased funding for their own ads this week. They argue that Proposition 66 will fix three strikes by preventing criminals who commit relatively minor crimes for their third strike, including petty thieves who steal golf clubs, from getting a sentence of 25 years to life.

In contrast to the latest poll an early October Field Poll showed Proposition 66 with strong support, 65 percent to 18 percent.

All of a sudden, I feel less like I am tilting at a giant windmill of ignorance.

The fight continues throughout the weekend. Don’t lose heart. Talk to your friends, family, and neighbors. Send chain-mails. Get the word out! We still have a chance.

Proposition 66 Debate

Filed under: No on 66 — Patterico @ 2:58 pm

Following are excerpts from a debate on Proposition 66, between an Orange County deputy district attorney named Brian Gurwitz, and the man who wrote the original draft of the proposition, Sam Clauder.

You have to laugh to keep from crying.

In order to fully appreciate these excerpts, you need to understand two very important points.

First, Proposition 66 will indeed result in the release of thousands of criminals with histories of serious and violent crime. Thousands of third-strike defendants will have their sentences cut drastically. In most cases, their new sentences will be 3-5 years — of which they must serve only half. By the time they have their sentencing hearings in early 2005, most of these convicts will already have served their entire sentence — and they will be released immediately.

Second, judges have absolutely no discretion to keep these criminals in prison. Resentencing is mandatory.

What is utterly bizarre about this debate is that Sam Clauder, the Proposition 66 supporter, doesn’t seem to understand either of these points. Clauder seems like a very nice and well-intentioned man, but he just has no idea of the damage that his law is going to cause. What is especially amusing (in a tragic sort of way) is that the deputy district attorney seems to come close to having a stroke, as he tries to explain to Clauder what his own law is going to do.

The best part is when Clauder seems to have a real “oh, shit!” moment as he studies the mug shot of Steven Matthews, a convicted murderer who will be released by Proposition 66. For a fleeting moment, you can see that Clauder is actually disturbed by the prospect that this dangerous man is going to be released. Then the mask goes back up, and Clauder reverts to his implausible arguments that Matthews may have turned his life around and found Christ — notwithstanding his possession of a machete and a rock hammer inscribed with the words “fag finder reminder.”

Here are the excerpts:

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