My Friend Laura is a State Prosecutor and she and her fiancé are offering their perspective on this proposition: They're urging people to vote No on Prop 66:
All right- usually you do not see me sending messages like this, but there is an issue that Laura (being a state prosecutor) and I know a lot about, and have strong feelings for, on the ballot most of you will see Tuesday. This is an issue that will affect us all here in CA much more than who becomes president.
There is a proposition (66) on the ballot that, if it passes, would effectively repeal California's "Three Strikes" law. For those of you not familiar with this law, it has been in effect for about ten years and gives prosecutors and judges the discretion to seek extended jail sentences to repeat offenders who are career criminals. One year after its passage the crime rate in California dropped substantially. In L.A. we now have the lowest crime rate since the late 1960's.
Prop 66 was created, and funded, by an Orange County millionaire who wants to help his son get out of jail. Several advertisements for this Proposition have given the public the misleading impression that the Three Strikes law has been responsible for sending a few minor offenders to jail for life. In addition, proponents make the proposed changes to the law sound fair and harmless, when in reality they are drastic. Read the document at this link http://www.keep3strikes.org/facts.asp to see what the changes really mean, and see profiles of some of the actual individuals who would be released.
If this Prop passes (as seems likely to happen looking at the current polls) an estimated 26000 repeat offenders will be immediately released from prison, with a much larger number receiving shortened sentences. We are talking people convicted of crimes such as rape and murder here, not junkies, pizza theives, or shoplifters. If any of you have doubts about the seriousness of this, Laura has informed me that her office has already created an emergency group to handle all the cases (likely resulting in releases or reduced sentences) that will immediately arise should Prop 66 pass.
The Three Strikes law has been very effective, and judges have the discretion to apply it only where it is warranted. The idea is that it allows the justice system to look at a criminal's past history, not just the current crime, allowing the courts to keep career criminals off the streets rather than letting them cycle in and out of jail while continuing to victimize people. This is why the current governor, former governors, the LAPD, sherriff's office, attorney general, and district attorney all oppose this Proposition.
Please do not be fooled into gutting this law as it will have a huge effect on crime here in Los Angeles. Look at the issue carefully before voting on this one.