Three Strikes Cases

Approved by California voters in 1994, the Three Strikes Law dramatically increased the sentences for certain repeat offenders who have one or more prior "strikes" on their record. (A prior conviction counts as a "strike" if it was received for a serious or violent felony as defined in the California Penal Code.)

Under the original version of the Three Strikes Law, a person with two or more "strikes" who was later convicted of any new felony could be declared a "third striker," and would be sentenced to a minimum of 25 years to life in state prison.

At Three Strikes Justice Center, we help inmates begin a new chapter in their lives, and bring families together, because we don't think a life sentence is fair for the elderly or those with low-risk, non-violent offenses. Nobody should be locked away for life for stealing or possessing drugs.

Proposition 36 Provides Release Or Re-Sentencing

In 2012, California voters passed Proposition 36, which changes the sentencing for some third-strike offenders. Under the new law, a life sentence for a third strike is only allowed in cases in which the current offense is a serious or violent felony, or in cases where the prosecution proves some other specific disqualifying factor.

Proposition 36 also created a re-sentencing procedure for some inmates. An inmate must show that neither the current offense nor the prior strike(s) come within any exclusion categories.

The petition must describe all of the currently charged felonies that resulted in the third-strike sentence, and must also specify all of the prior convictions that were alleged and proved as strikes. Once the court receives the petition for re-sentencing, it will determine whether the petitioner is entitled to benefit from the law changes. Unless "good cause" is shown, petitions for re-sentencing must be filed by Nov. 7, 2014.

The Rules Of Eligibility

To be eligible for re-sentencing under Proposition 36, an inmate must be serving an indeterminate life term under the Three Strikes Law. The inmate's current offense must not have been a serious or violent felony. Second-strikers are ineligible for re-sentencing.

The current offense also cannot fall into one of these crime categories that still would require a "third-strike" sentence:

  • Drug offenses with weight/volume enhancements
  • Unlawful intercourse
  • Some felonies that result in mandatory registration as a sex offender
  • Offenses where the defendant used or was armed with a firearm or deadly weapon
  • Offenses where the defendant intended to cause great bodily injury to another person

Regardless of whether the current offense is non-serious and non-violent, an inmate will still be ineligible for re-sentencing if one of his or her prior strikes falls within any of the following exclusion categories:

  • A "sexually violent" offense
  • Sexual abuse of a child
  • Any homicide offense, including attempted homicide
  • Solicitation of murder
  • Assault with a machine gun on a police officer or firefighter
  • Possession of a weapon of mass destruction
  • Felony offenses punishable in California by life imprisonment or death

Contact Our Re-Sentencing Lawyer In San Francisco

Attorney Angeli R. Fitch of Fitch Law Office, is the co-founder of the Three Strikes Justice Center, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to alleviate the overcrowding of prisons by fighting for the release of inmates under the current Three Strikes Law.

Based on your conviction information, we will determine whether you are eligible for re-sentencing, and in some cases, possible release from prison. If you are eligible, we will gather all the evidence to be considered at your hearing so that we can present your case to the judge in the most positive light.

Contact the Three Strikes Justice Center for more information.