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Question
Is this true in california that one person can only commit crimes twice,while a person will be automatically be  sentenced to life for commit any crime for thid time? if this is true,would is be unfair for repeat offenders who only commit minor crimes?

Answer
Pui,

Yes, that is essentially the case.  What you are referring to is California's "Three Strikes Law."  California's Three Strikes Law is a sentencing matrix that adds significant time to the prison sentences of certain repeat offenders convicted of serious or violent felonies.

The three strikes law was enacted by both legislative and voter initiatives in the 1990's. It was amended in 2000 and again in 2006 to add additional crimes to the list of qualifying "strike" offenses.  For example, in the anger and panic that followed the tragic murders of eighteen year old Kimber Reynolds and twelve year old Polly Klaas by men with criminal records, the three strikes law was intended to stop violent recidivist offenders.  

In late 2012 one of the worst features of California's three strikes law was eliminated. Before then, a "strike" sentence could be triggered by any felony conviction (even for a "wobbler " or nonviolent offense).  As a result, strikers (persons sentenced under this matrix) were being given lengthy and life sentences after convictions for things like receiving stolen property and minor possession of a controlled substance.  Under that matrix the old version of three strikes could lead to gravely disproportionate and even absurd outcomes, like giving someone convicted of shoplifting a longer sentence than someone convicted of murder.  In November 2012 California voters chose to change that feature of the law. Under Proposition 36 the Three Strikes Law was amended to reflect a more fair application of sentencing where in most cases a person may only receive the longest twenty-five year to life sentence if all three of their felony convictions were for serious or violent felonies (instead of just the first two).  

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Jeffrey Hauck

Expertise

I would welcome the opportunity to answer questions relating to or related to the broad field of criminal justice.

Experience

Criminologist. Professor of Criminal Justice. Licensed Private Detective with expansive clientele base encompassing hundreds of cases. Donates resources and time to the Children's Rescue Network in Orlando, FL.

Education/Credentials
Associate of Science; Bachelor of Arts; Master of Science, Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree.

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