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Third Branch

A federal appeals court upheld a mentally ill man's sentence of 25 years-to-life for shoplifting two bottles of liquor from a market, a sentence a dissenting judge called 'barbarous.'

Wow, who knew they had such brass-knuckled federal appeals judges over there in San Francisco?

There's more:

The court majority said federal judges, under a 1996 law, can overturn state criminal sentences only if they clearly violate constitutional standards that have been established by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Ah, yes, one of the crowning achievements of the Gingrich-Armey years.

Certainly everyone reading this blog knows that when states' rights are granted precedence over federal court dominion everyone wins -- except, of course, for liberals and criminals.


Comments (9)

A federal appeals ... (Below threshold)
A federal appeals court upheld a mentally ill man's sentence of 25 years-to-life for shoplifting two bottles of liquor from a market, a sentence a dissenting judge called 'barbarous.'

Considering this is San Francisco, can you imagine how severe the punishment would have been if the guy had stolen wine? Oh, the humanity!

Did you really expect anyth... (Below threshold)
BillyBob:

Did you really expect anything different from the 9th Circus Court of Appeals. They figured they found a way for the government to take care of this poor schizo for the rest of his life. He's in the good hands of the nanny state now.

It is a barbarous sentence,... (Below threshold)

It is a barbarous sentence, but I think the primary failure of law is not the Federal, but the State, law. You know, the one that allowed this sentence in the first place.

This is exactly why three-s... (Below threshold)
mantis:

This is exactly why three-strikes laws are flawed and need to be reconsidered.

As a California resident I ... (Below threshold)
Eric:

As a California resident I couldn't agree with Mantis more. Oh wait, I feel faint, world is spinning...

Seriously, the California three strikes law is pretty damn unjust. They sold it to the voters as a way to deal with hard-core violent criminals, but the reality is people with mental problems are getting life sentences over a hundred bucks worth of inventory. The dissenting judge is correct - it is barbarous.

The law requires the first two felonies to be "serious". The third one can be any felony (which are all supposed to be serious, I suppose).

But the majority was correct too. The federal courts don't have jurisdiction. This is something the state needs to fix. You'd think in a state shot-through with bleeding-liberals liberals this kind of thing wouldn't happen, but all attempts to deal with the problem have failed so far.

Eric-Seriously doe... (Below threshold)
Rory:

Eric-

Seriously does California want to pay the taxes to keep this guy in jail for 25 years to life? Maybe in California-that's the most "efficient" way for them to handle it...that wouldn't surprise me.

Do they have room in their jail system for shoplifters?

Seems to me it's irrational, overdone and wasting the Federal Appeal Court's time.

It lacks common sense.

I can see the argument that they don't have jurisdiction-who the hell can teach California-common sense?

Not even Thomas Paine.


Read the freakin' article. ... (Below threshold)

Read the freakin' article. The guy has FIVE convictions for robbery.

I'm not for "three strikes" laws, either, but every case I've heard of where a relatively "minor" felony is the "third strike" for someone, their record indicates they had no business being on the street in the first place.

A guy with five convictions for robbery has most likely robbed DOZENS of people without being caught or convicted.

People with that sort of history NEED to be locked away for the protection of society. The travesty is that it took this offense to get him off the streets permanently.

Jim-I did read the... (Below threshold)
Rory:

Jim-

I did read the article.

Seems to me that what liberals want to "prescribe" on the national level for mental health is in direct conflict with how they handle mental health issues on a local level.

There also seems to be a conflict here-and unfortunately looks like it might take some more court time to resolve-

The Supreme Court upheld three-strikes terms for shoplifters in 2003, but the appeals court overturned a 25-to-life sentence in 2004 after finding that none of the defendant's convictions involved violence.

The article doesn't give all the specifics so essentially were all opining out our hats.

I just find it unusual that a big city such has San Fran has the space in their jails for 25 years to life for this level of crime-when they seem to have higher levels of crime committed in that city.

> Read the freakin' arti... (Below threshold)
Arthur:

> Read the freakin' article. The guy has FIVE convictions for robbery.

Thanks Jim. I don't have to repeat the arguments you just made.

to Eric and Rory. I'm in California too. I voted for that law and I've read the stories about the itsty-bitsy crimes that lead to the 25 year to life sentences. The first one I recall was the infamous pizza slice bandit. As Jim pointed out, ALL of those morons were career criminals who need to be kept away from the rest of us. The fact that their 3rd stike was for a "minor" offense just points out how disconnected from reality they are. They know the 3rd strike law is in effect and they're still in THIS state?

It's probably a lot cheaper to pay their prison upkeep than it would be to repair the constant, grinding damage they would inflict on the outside.




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