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Support Three Strikes reform

May 29, 2009

by Kenneth G. Keel

One of the top missions of Caravan for Justice III is the abolition of the Three Strikes law that has ripped apart families and impoverished the state of California. These demonstrators played a major role in the third caravan to Sacramento on May 26. – Photo: Scott Braley
One of the top missions of Caravan for Justice III is the abolition of the Three Strikes law that has ripped apart families and impoverished the state of California. These demonstrators played a major role in the third caravan to Sacramento on May 26. – Photo: Scott Braley
Sadly, March 7, 2009, marked the 15th anniversary for California’s draconian Three Strikes and You’re Out law. Fifteen years is one and a half decades, 180 months or 5,475 days. No matter how you calculate it, 15 years is too long for non-violent humans to be “incapacitated” for petty, non-serious and victimless crimes. For sure, thousands of non-violent Third Strikers, including many women and U.S. veterans, should not spend 25 years to life away from their aging parents, children, families and communities. It’s time for everyone to help end Three Strikes injustice.

This article summarizes current efforts to reform Three Strikes. This author strongly encourages everyone to support these ongoing efforts to reform California’s Three Strikes law. If not now, when?

Third Strikers civil RICO lawsuit

On Dec. 8, 2008, a Three Strikes civil RICO lawsuit, Keel v. Schwarzenegger, et al., was initiated in the United States District Court, Central District of California, Case No. CV08-7591. This unprecedented case was researched, prepared and financed by Third Striker and paralegal Kenneth G. Keel. From February 2009 through March 2009, 42 non-violent Third Strikers submitted motions to intervene – join – this case, i.e., to certify a class action.

Generally, the case is based on the fact that billionaire Dr. Henry T. Nicholas III used $3.5 million derived from his racketeering activities to defeat Proposition 66 in 2004. The affected class is everyone deprived of a re-sentencing hearing under Prop. 66. Our injuries – damages – include the loss of prospective earnings.

This case also goes after Nicholas and others for using $4.85 million from racketeering income to finance Prop. 9 in 2008. In addition to retroactively eliminating our fundamental rights and privileges, Prop. 9 amended the Penal Code to “eliminate the distinction between prisoners convicted of murder and prisoners convicted of other [non-violent Three Strikes] life offenses,” which permits parole hearing delays up to 15 years.

The Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) statute, 18 U.S.C. §§ 1961 et seq., provides civil remedies for certain types of illegal activities. Particularly, under RICO’s civil provisions it is “unlawful for any person who has received any income derived, directly or indirectly, from a pattern of racketeering activity … to use or invest, directly or indirectly, any part of such income, or the proceeds of such income” for the establishment or operation of a public policy enterprise – for example, Nicholas’ No on Prop. 66 and Marsy’s Law campaigns. Civil remedies under RICO include “treble damages.” This lawsuit seeks the invalidation of the 2004 election results for Prop. 66, and the 2008 election results for Prop. 9.

For additional information or to obtain a motion to intervene, contact Kenneth G. Keel, D-12127, Folsom State Prison, 5BA-T139, P.O. Box 715071, Represa, CA 95671-5071. Note: Title 15 prohibits prison-to-prison correspondence; therefore, prisoners must use a third party for all mailings.

Proposed TiPS Three Strikes lawsuit

TiPS (Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety, www.forpublicsafety.com) recently announced the creation of a committee dedicated to Three Strikes reform. Included in the strategy, TiPS has proposed a lawsuit to challenge “the dual use of facts for imposing enhancements, application of the law ex-post facto … violation of separation of powers between Legislature and Judicial branches of government, and possibly even breach of contract by the state.”

TiPS has set up a special bank account to receive and hold contributions, noting, “The cost of finalizing, filing, and representing TiPS Three Strikes lawsuit is expected to be at least $60,000 as a class action for TiPS members as the affected class.”

For additional information, contact Matt Gray, Taxpayers for Improving Public Safety (TiPS), P.O. Box 255456, Sacramento, CA 95865.

Barbara Brooks’ Sentencing and Justice Reform Advocacy (SJRA)

On March 15, 2009, Barbara Brooks published the first issue of The Advocate. After reading “A Note from Barb” (on page 6), I was convinced that she is doing everything she can within her means to help reform the Three Strikes law. As she noted, “We all have to make some sacrifices to make a difference.”

Without delay, actively show you support the SJRA, and use their exceptional newsletter to keep getting the word out state-wide. Contribute generously!

Reserve your next copy of The Advocate today by sending one stamp and one self-addressed stamped envelope to Barbara Brooks, Sentencing and Justice Reform Advocacy (SJRA), P.O. Box 71, Olivehurst, CA 95961.

Families to Amend California’s Three Strikes (FACTS)

In 1996, a coalition of organizations from the Los Angeles area came together with the intent of amending the Three Strikes law to apply to violent and serious crimes only. Although their goal was not achieved, they did succeed in forming FACTS, a statewide organization. FACTS now has several chapters across California. Membership is made up of families of Strikers and people of conscience who are committed to ending Three Strikes injustice.

If you would like to help educate citizens about Three Strikes injustice, join FACTS. Membership is always open. Contribute generously within your means. Contact FACTS, 3982 S. Figueroa St., Suite 210, Los Angeles, CA 90037, (213) 746-4844 or www.FACTS1.com.

It’s clear from this article that the writer, Kenneth Keel, is an accomplished jailhouse lawyer like those Mumia Abu-Jamal salutes in his new book, “Jailhouse Lawyers.” Readers are urged to follow Kenneth’s advice to get involved in reforming – or, better yet, repealing – the Three Strikes law and to send words of encouragement to Kenneth G. Keel, D-12127, Folsom State Prison, 5BA-T139, P.O. Box 715071, Represa, CA 95671-5071.

14 thoughts on “Support Three Strikes reform

  1. the other white meat

    It should be two strikes and your out!! your little dead thug Oscar Grant would be getting butt-raped right about now..instead homie is in a hole..he had a rap sheet 7 pages long..and your beloved Lovelle…raping 12 yr. old black girls in your hood..he should of been exterminated at birth…you blach folk have no issues killing and raping each other..but if whitey is involved…look out..street protests..use whites and other educated and decent races need to be protected from you monkies.

    Reply
    1. robin cathy

      yes i have a husband facing25 years to life priors wre as a juvinille ,i have tried to start a support group for f.a.c. t. s but, no luck please e- mail me if you could help me i have contacted law schools but , the waiting list is forever,,,thank you, have a great holiday hope to hear from soon,,,,,,

      Reply
  2. Frank Courser

    Oh great, looks like a racist prison guard posted here first. Well it is important to educate the public. What he does not want you to know is, two or three strikes can come out of one case. Prior strikes do not have to be violent. Two prior Burglaries that come out of one case will do. Juvenile strikes at 16-17 years of age can be used decades later to win a life sentence. Third strike can be any felony even a misdemeanor enhanced to a felony “so called wobbler crimes” to win a life sentence. Treating all prior convictions as identical produces a system which is unconstitutionally arbitrary. Meaning two prior counts of attempted murder are treated the same as burglary. California’s Three Strikes Law discards the presumption of innocence by withholding evidence about past convictions to a jury. Juries are not allowed to know the person on trial is facing life under three strikes. Not one person has ever been convicted for 1st degree murder under Three Strikes. One of the laws main selling points. But 690 are serving life for simple drug possession, 350 for shoplifting 181 for receiving stolen property. Does Three Strikes deter crime? There is no empirical evidence in any study to prove that. In fact Strike-less states have shown a greater decrease in violent crime that those with Three Strikes.

    Reply
  3. Juan T. Mack

    I am in for abolishing the three strikes law but I am equally concerned with the need for unity amongst our people and with other minorities that are leaving us far behind.

    Reply
  4. Juan T. Mack

    I am in for abolishing the three strikes law but I am equally concerned with the need for unity amongst our people and with other minorities that are leaving us far behind.

    Reply
  5. ricky lee

    yea looks like another racist chimed in as well
    he uses the word minority indicating any one other than a white man
    this is supposed to be about setting our loved ones free from hell
    this is typical negro mentality
    you think your the only ones picked on
    the truth of the matter is that your people are the primmary ones with all your glorified gang banging and wana be gangsta shit that caused the people of ca to enact this nightmare
    im a pecker wood and proud of it and yea most of you make me sick but i dont wish this kind of hell on any man
    so lets fuck the dumb shit and all try to set our familys free of this god bless us all

    Reply
  6. Christine Hagen

    I would like to change the law to hold murders, rapist, and child molesters beind bars. I think it’s crazy how they are dealing with three strikes. I know criminals deserve to pay for there crime but America needs to see and realize most of the criminals weren’t lucky to grow up in good loved homes. Most have a drug disease and like cancer and aids they need treatment too. And no one understands that. I’m for Programs before Prison. I know everyone will run there mouth but until you been there and walked there shoes you know nothing.

    Reply
  7. Christine Hagen

    I WANT EVERYONE THAT IS UP FOR ABOLISHING THE THREE STRIKES TO MAKE SURE YOU KNOW WHO IS RUNNING FOR GOVERNOR IN 2010. IF THE RIGHT ONE GETS IN THREE STRIKES COULD BE ABOLISHED. STAND TOGETHER CALIFORNIA. ITS TIME FOR A CHANGE AND MAKE 2010 THE YEAR OF CHANGE. LET OUR MOTHERS, FATHERS,BROTHERS,SISTERS,HUSBANDS,WIFES AND FRIENDS HAVE A CHANCE AT PROGRAMS. HAVE THE OLDER ONES A CHANCE AT LIFE BEFORE DEATH. DON’T LET THE OLDER ONES DIE IN A CELL. PLEASE TAKE A STAND NOVEMBER 2010!!!

    Reply
  8. maria romero

    I want this law be abolished. There are many murders who got 10 years. Sex Ofender 3 years. It is not just that for less people with 3 charges in one time, and first time in prison have 25 years to life. For me, this law is not just. It must be abolished, and help many people in prison who have already enough time and they are already paid for their charges. Please comment more people and help with this injust law.
    I have a son who has about 12 years and he did not kill anybody nor injured. He is in prison since his 22 years old. My only man son.

    Reply
  9. Loving and Lost Wife

    My husband is serving a life term under the CA three strikes law for receiving stolen property… under the value of $10. He is white, he is also a husband, a father, a man who deserves to live out his life with his family. None of us deserve this. We are one race, the human race. We all deserve to be treated humanly and with dignity.

    Reply
  10. childrens internet safety

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    Reply
  11. HisLady

    Knowledge is everything, we have habitual offender laws, we have a 1-strike law for sex offenders, we don't need this emotionally motivated 3-strikes BS law. One must focus on the whole 3-strikes law to understand how it's really unjust, clogging our justice system with BS cases and prompting over-zealous, tail wagging prosecutors to over-charge, elevate misdemeanors to felonies & plea bargain as many cases as they can by scaring defendents with some ungodly, hyped up amount of prison time, which doesn't fit the crime.

    For those of you who think everyone doing time is a "violent repeat felon", understand this: If you've never been in trouble in your life, someone calls your mother or child a bi****h, you get in a fight and you break their nose, you now have your 1st strike (assault w/great bodily injury). Now read on what happens to the rest of YOUR life, aside from the discrimination you receive in trying to find a job, housing & a way to eat FOREVER in CA, as we don't have a "washout period" like the "sane" states.

    Reply
  12. HisLady

    Second Strike: Penal Code Section 667 (b)-(i), specifically (e)(1), indicates a
    defendant who has ONE prior serious or violent felony (ex. breaking someone's nose in a fight) conviction that has been pled and proven in court and who is convicted of ANY new offense (misdemeanor elevated to a felony, non-violent felonies, it doesn't matter!) results in the new term being DOUBLED. It does NOT matter if the new offense is serious or violent as it is the prior serious/violent offense that causes the new term to be doubled. Not to mention our stupid sentencing structure gives people triple the time by the unjust "sentence enhancements" (ex. 3yrs for the crime itself & 10yrs for the enhancement). These persons are referred to as Second Strikers.

    After that we know writing a bad check, stealing a candy bar and ALL petty offenses will result in a 3rd strike, equaling a life sentence in prison. I can certainly think of better ways to spend MY tax payer dollars besides lining our muti-billion dollar prison industry pockets for trivial BS cases. Give the murderers and child molesters life!

    Reply

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