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California Prison & Criminal Justice News & Events + 3 Strikes Do you have news relating to California's Prison or Ciminal Justice System and related efforts? Post them here! Also discuss 3 Strike laws.

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Old 03-05-2005, 11:50 AM
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Thumbs up Man Facing 26 years for Lying Wins Hearing

Man facing 26 years for lying wins hearing

Fri Mar 4, 3:37 PM ET


SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters)
- A California man sent to prison for 26 years for lying on a driver's license application has won a new hearing in a case that revived debate over the state's "three strikes" law, which imposes lengthy terms on repeat offenders.



Santos Reyes was convicted of perjury for filling out a driver's license under a cousin's name in 1997. Convicted of burglary in 1981 and armed robbery in 1987, he was sentenced to 26-years-to-life. Reyes appealed, arguing such a sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment.


The U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals based in San Francisco ordered the case returned to a lower court to review Reyes's previous crimes.


"But for Reyes' armed robbery conviction, Reyes would appear to have a plausible case for relief," Judge Harry Pregerson wrote. "Unfortunately, the circumstances under which Reyes committed the robbery are not sufficiently developed in the record for us to determine whether the offence was a 'crime against a person' or involved violence."


The case is the latest in a heated debate over California's "three strikes" law, which imposes prison terms of 25 years to life on those convicted of a third felony. Opponents of the law say large sentences for minor crimes unfairly target small-time criminals and overburden the prison system.


California's prison population has grown fourfold over the past 25 years amid stiffer sentencing. Yet voters in November rejected a proposal to soften the three-strikes law.


In its decision, the court cited a 2004 ruling that found a Californian sentenced to at least 25 years in prison after stealing a $199 (103 pounds) video recorder was unfairly punished.


One of the three judges hearing the Reyes case dissented, saying the sentence was justified and further consideration of the case was not necessary.


"Reyes does not present an 'extraordinary' rare case; he is a career criminal," Richard Tallman wrote. "Between 1981 and 1997, he committed six crimes and spent almost seven years behind bars, five of which were passed in state prison."


"His criminal history reflects the very type and degree of recidivism the Supreme Court recognizes Three Strikes laws were properly intended to address."

Link To Article: http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=stor..._crime_lying_1

Last edited by Pinky99; 03-05-2005 at 11:52 AM..
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