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'Three Strikes' Law and Pizza Case

October 01, 1994

Re "Pizza Case Unlikely Focus of '3 Strikes' Debate," Sept. 18:

Jerry Dewayne Williams, the man who stole the pizza from the children at the Redondo Beach Pier, has proven himself incapable of functioning in society. After four felony convictions, is there any doubt as to what he is? This will be his fifth felony conviction. At 27 years old, he has many more years ahead of him to damage society, unless he is locked up now.

JOHN CROWLEY

Redondo Beach

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"Life? For a piece of pizza?" says Williams' girlfriend. Williams, who takes drugs, robs, frightens children and chronically commits felonies with no apparent problem, but who faints if he eats pork, should get his values straight. If the thought of taking drugs, robbing, etc. made him faint or ill, like it does decent people, then he wouldn't be in this mess with "three strikes."

LAWRENCE PURCELL

Echo Park

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Reading about the "pizza thief" and similar cases makes two things "strikingly" clear: First, a "three strikes" law for serious felons is good and, second, that we either need to redraw the definitions of misdemeanor and felony or, more probably, create a new classification of crime--something between a felony and a misdemeanor.

People who steal a slice of pizza, or an apple from the store, realistically are not as bad as those who hurt other people. I don't care whether they injure people while trying to pull a gold chain off their neck or by knocking them down while running away from police or by domestic violence or by manslaughter, etc. If someone criminally injures another, that should be considered a felony subject to a "three strikes" law.

The point is that now that we finally have a strict and severe law, we need to do some serious fine-tuning to allow proper use of the law. After all most of us who clamored for it wanted some true justice, not petty revenge.

BARBARA ASPENSON

Los Angeles

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Re "Denny Case Defendant to Be Tried on Gun Charge," Sept. 13: I am somewhat confused by Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti and the "three strikes" law.

First of all, Antoine Miller, after an argument goes into his house and returns to a vehicle armed with a gun. He then proceeds to fire at the occupants and subsequently, at point blank range, tried to fire into the face of the driver. The gun jammed. The crimes that were committed here are assault with a deadly weapon and attempted murder. This would also be a "strike" under the new law, a second strike because Miller is already on felony probation.

If we are to have citizens feel safe and to protect them at all, why is Miller only being charged with being a felon in possession of a gun? It would be reassuring to hear from our D.A.'s office the reasons why such lenient treatment has been afforded here. Are the victims afraid to testify? Should citizens arm themselves for protection? What?

JACK GOLD

Sylmar

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Re "Striking Out," editorial, Sept. 23: So the RAND Corp. has reported that the cost of reducing crime in California by one-third is estimated to be $300 per taxpayer per year. Sounds like a bargain to me! Where do I send the check to pay my share?

JAMES FREDERICK ELWELL

Palos Verdes Estates

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