| Prop 36 has early lead in the polls
by Brian Leubitz
This election includes some big issues on the ballot, and perhaps that means that the 3 strikes reform measure is getting less attention than it would have on a less loaded ballot. But Prop 36 is solid reform:
Twice in as many decades, voters have sided in favor of a three-strikes law that allows judges to impose a life prison term for offenders who commit a third felony - no matter how minor - if they have two previous serious or violent criminal convictions on their records.
Proposition 36 proponents want to change the law to restrict the 25-years-to-life sentences, with some exceptions, to criminals whose third felony was serious or violent; nothing less than a residential burglary would qualify as a strike.(SacBee:)
Prop 36 would essentially formalize what has been occurring in the state's largest county, Los Angeles, under Republican DA Steve Cooley. By requiring a violent third strike, the hope is you will reduce some of the more ridiculous life sentences. Cooley notes that removing the discretion from the state's prosecutors, we should see more consistent application of the law.
36 has been getting solid majorities in the polls I've seen (78% last week), but this may well end up being a very tight race if there is any money on the No side.