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Garcetti on '3 Strikes'

November 03, 1994

The Times' series, "Six Months of 'Three Strikes' " (Oct. 23, 24), highlights many of the issues the Office of the District Attorney is facing in prosecuting "three strikes" cases. I am concerned, however, that the series misstates the three-strikes enforcement policy of my office.

Since the enactment of three strikes, I have stated consistently that I will follow the letter and spirit of three strikes. My three-strikes policy dictates that it is the rare three-strikes case which should be resolved without three-strikes penalties. Our line prosecutors appear to be following this policy. There are cases which should be and are resolved differently, but these cases are not common.

Despite the best efforts of this office, your series makes clear that some judges are working to evade three strikes. We are fighting this by appealing appropriate cases to see that three strikes, in fact, is enforced.

Finally, prosecutors in this office file criminal actions against three strikes defendants--and all other defendants--solely based on the merits of the particular cases; that is, whether the evidence warrants conviction by a reasonable trier of fact. We do not consider whether the defendants are on parole from state prison (and potentially facing proceedings for violating parole). If there is a case that should be filed, we file it. Period.

GIL GARCETTI

District Attorney, Los Angeles County

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