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Prop. 21

March 05, 2000

In two Feb. 29 Commentary articles about Prop. 21, Arianna Huffington argues eloquently that we should back off and try to rehabilitate young offenders and Michael D. Bradbury counters that we have to defend ourselves against the horrifying savagery of some of these punks. I agree with both of them but I am going to vote no.

I believe this and other laws go way too far into micromanaging criminal penalty decisions. We cannot prove three strikes is working and we cannot prove prisons are not working and we can't decide who is juvenile and who is not. The proposition I would vote for would remove all the distinctions so all accused are tried under the same rules until guilt or innocence has been decided.

I would want the court to sentence the guilty with wide latitude to consider the youth, salvageability or incorrigibility of the miscreant, the heinous or brutal nature or sad inevitability of the crime and then do the best it can for the public, the victim and the criminal.

KENNETH OGILVIE

Arcadia

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Prop. 21 deserves defeat. We should let judges on a case-by-case basis make decisions for juveniles, not laws made in the heat of political passion, like the three-strikes law, which is filling our prisons at a disgraceful rate. Right on, Arianna!

MARJORIE B. LUX

Pacific Palisades

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