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Judge Defies '3 Strikes'

August 08, 1994

Your well-reasoned editorial (July 23) on the dilemma faced by California judges in administering the "three strikes" law poses the problem but does not suggest a solution. The court must either obey the law and pronounce an unjust sentence or disobey it by pronouncing a sentence that the court considers just.

Assuming there is a valid test case on appeal that will ultimately decide the constitutionality of the law as applied, there is a third option available to the trial judge: Pronounce the sentence required by law but qualify it by also pronouncing a "just" sentence to prevail when and if the law is ruled to be unconstitutional "as applied." This will avoid the court's disregarding a valid law, which is what the criminal has done in the first place.


Professor of Law Emeritus

Pepperdine University School of Law

My compliments to Superior Court Judge Lawrence Antolini for standing up to a bad law (July 22). "Three strikes" came in wild-eyed and blustering like a self-appointed vigilante and dared anyone to oppose it. Judge Antolini is doing his job.



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