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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Three Strikes Are Three Too Many

August 25, 2004

Re "Putting a Face on Three-Strikes Injustice," Commentary, Aug. 23: What part of "Don't commit felonies" doesn't Michael Sokolove understand? He writes a sob story about some burglar who was twice convicted of breaking into people's homes and then breaks into a school. How many times does society need to tell these thieves and crooks that such conduct is unacceptable?

That the burglar wasn't armed and entered someone else's house when no one was home holds no matter to me, nor the thousands of other Californians who are fed up with lawbreakers. Do not enter my home!

I am 64 and have never broken into someone else's home or, for that matter, stolen some teenagers' pizza through threats and intimidation. I have managed to go through life without committing felonies and misdemeanors, and I expect this burglar to do the same thing. Twenty-five to life? Fine with me.

David H. Dolson

Valencia

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Sokolove's indictment of the three-strikes law provides perfect evidence of why it should stay on the books. Carl Jones was caught and convicted of burglary of a private home. Getting caught and convicted should have sent a very clear message: Don't ever do that again. Of course he did, and again, who knows how many times, before he was caught and convicted (again).

The final strike is always the one that the apologists regard as the cruelest; but honestly, if you have been twice convicted and you intended to act honestly in the future, wouldn't you change right then?

Sokolove bemoans the fact that we have such a high prison population, but it is a necessity when a country has the great freedoms we do. It is imperative that our country ensure the safety of both person and property in order to allow those freedoms to flourish. Sokolove wishes that Jones was not sentenced to 25 years in prison, for having been convicted of three crimes. I wish Jones had not committed any crimes, or at least stopped violating our rights and freedoms after his second conviction.

Joe Stevens

Marina del Rey

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