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Soft Sentencing Sparked '3 Strikes'

October 16, 1994

We really cannot blame the public for pushing on the "three strikes" movement even though, as your "Tough Sentence for a Foul Crime" editorial (Oct. 4) makes clear, "the tools were already on hand, without extremist legislation. . . . "

We know that, but apparently our justices did not, since past judicial action has given us: median time served for homicide, three years, four months; robbery, one year, 11 months; assault with a deadly weapon, one year, 11 months.

Had the existing "tools" been more rigorously applied by our judges as did Judge (Luis) Cardenas, it's not unreasonable to suspect that there would not be the clamor for "three strikes" today. Is it possible that had the judges' stiff action for the illegal use of a gun been more rigorously applied in the past that we would not be on the verge of a constitutional crisis today?

FORREST BONNER, Huntington Beach

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