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Letters: Three strikes in the real world

October 03, 2012

Re "Voters back easing up on three strikes," USC Dornsife/Times Poll, Sept. 30

This otherwise informative article contains this misleading statement about California's three-strikes law: "The law targets offenders who have previous convictions for at least two serious or violent crimes, such as rape or robbery."

I served on a jury years ago dealing with a man who tried to steal a pair of pants. The jurors were not allowed to consider the possibility that the defendant might go to prison for 25 years to life.

After we convicted him, I asked the prosecutor about prior convictions. I was informed that his first offense involved walking into a store, picking up a small item up and walking out while making no effort to conceal or pay for the item. The second offense was similar to the first. When I was told that the man would be spending at least 25 years in prison, I felt sick to my stomach.

Bill Darrough

South Pasadena

The subheadline, "But bid to replace the state's death penalty with life without parole is trailing," is misleading. The article buries the fact that 11% of surveyed voters in the poll discussed are undecided, leaving the issue so far a veritable dead heat. Voters are gathering the facts, so this isn't over.

Proposition 34 keeps killers behind bars forever, saves our cash-strapped state millions of dollars, diverts the money to the public and requires inmates to work and pay into a victims' fund. With plans like this, I'll frankly be surprised if the measure doesn't pass with flying colors, once people know the details.

Tim Curns

Beverly Hills

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