In last week's review of California's draconian "Three-Strikes-You're-Out" law (, we wrote that "anyone convicted of a felony who had previously been convicted of a 'violent' or 'serious' felony (which includes most drug charges as well as burglary of an unoccupied dwelling) is subject to enhanced punishment. Persons with one previous conviction are sentenced to twice the term prescribed by law, and must serve 80% of it. Persons with two prior felony convictions are sentenced to life in prison, with no possibility of parole for at least 25 years."

There was one inaccuracy in this summary, in that most drug charges are not defined as "serious felonies" under the California law -- excepting selling or furnishing cocaine, PCP, or in some cases, methamphetamine, to a minor. We were correct that any felony, including any drug felony, can serve as a third strike, and any felony can have its potential sentence doubled if the offender has a previous violent or serious felony strike. However, drug crimes, except for those noted above, do not count as violent or serious felonies and therefore cannot be counted as a first or second strike. The relevant portions of the California Penal Code are Section 667, the "three strikes" law, and Section 1192.7 defining "serious felonies").

-- END --
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Issue #174, 2/23/01 New Report Rakes Clinton on Imprisonment | The Coca-Go-Round: Peruvian Production Starts to Increase as Spraying Destroys Colombian Fields | Washington State Hardliners Pitch Kindler, Gentler Drug War in Bid to Preempt Deeper Reforms | New Mexico: Update on Gov. Johnson's Drug Reform Package | Feds vs. Bongs: Heads Up for Head Shops | Newsbrief: American Pilots in Firefight With Colombian Rebels | Marijuana Has Less Adverse Effect on Driving Than Alcohol, Tiredness, UK Study Says | Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative Legal Briefs Online | An Invitation to Help Repeal the Rockefeller Drug Laws | | Erratum: Three Strikes Clarification | The Reformer's Calendar | Editorial: The Peace Process
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