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Three Strikes law

Three strikes law was enacted to control the increase in crimes across the country. the law was passed in California in 1994. The state got a very assertive response when they held a proposal vote. In three strikes law, if a person has two previous convictions, which fall within the extent of serious crimes, he will face imprisonment for life on his third serious or violent crime.

In United States of America, three strikes law were first brought up on 7th march 1994 and it became a part of us justice department and anti- violence strategy. Some forms of three strikes law have been implemented by 28 countries.
  1. Michael Elton Johnson was one of the first people sentenced under three strikes. Strike one was a 1976 second-degree rape in Montana, in which Johnson dragged a 14-year-old girl into the woods and raped her. Within a few weeks of his release in 1980, Johnson committed strike two for an attempted second-degree rape of a 15-year-old girl in the Wenatchee area during a burglary.

    His strike three for second-degree assault was perpetrated just a month after his release from prison in 1991. During this attack, Johnson cut his wife's face and neck, rammed a 9-inch-bladed knife into her mouth, pointed a pellet gun at her head and told her that he "would kill her anytime" he wished. At this time, three strikes was only a concept, so instead of receiving a life-without-parole sentence for the brutal assault, he received only a two-year sentence. Immediately after his release, Michael Johnson returned to preying on women and children.

    He was arrested for domestic violence and malicious mischief in Snohomish county for again beating his wife, who finally divorced him. Shortly after that, the department of corrections was informed that Johnson had been caught following a 17-year-old girl into a ferry-boat restroom in Snohomish county. Johnson subsequently moved to Oregon briefly, where he raped his own sister and threatened her life before moving back to eastern Washington.

    He was also charged with fourth-degree assault for putting a woman in a headlock after going into a tavern with her. She escaped unharmed, but was terrified by the experience. Johnson then befriended a Springdale woman who lived with her 16-year-old daughter. On Christmas day, 1993, he committeed strike four by raping the daughter and kidnapping both her and her mother and taking them to a neighbouring county. The next day he raped the daughter again before releasing them both. He pleaded guilty to two counts of rape and one count of kidnapping.

    The other kidnapping charge, the rape of his sister, and the non-strike assaults were all dropped in exchange for his guilty plea. In 1994 Michael Elton Johnson was sentenced to life without parole under three strikes. Michael Johnson's last three rapes, two kidnappings and four other assaults would have been prevented if three strikes had been enacted just three years earlier.
  2. Martin t. Shandel is actually a five-striker specializing in rape. Strike one was for sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in 1967. He was paroled in 1969.Shandel's strike two was for raping a 13-year-old girl who was walking home along a country road in 1971. He stopped his car, forced her into a wooded area and raped her. Just an hour before the attack, he had grabbed two younger girls and attempted, but failed, to force them into his car.

His strike three was for second-degree assault with a knife. He forced a woman off the road, brandished a knife and broke out her car window. He then grabbed her arm but was scared off by a witness. His predatory behaviour would have been stopped at this point by three strikes, had it been in effect. It wasn't, and Shandel was paroled yet again just six years later.

His strike four was for raping a 37-year-old woman whose home he was visiting in 1985. He attacked her after she asked him to leave. This last rape occurred just three months after his most recent release. This victim sued the Washington state department of corrections for failing to adequately supervise Shandel. She was awarded $204,000 by a king county superior court jury in 1992. The state appealed the decision and the state court of appeals overturned the award on a technicality.

The state supreme court then reinstated the monetary award and the victim finally has received it. Martin Shandel was released yet again in 1994. Less than a year later, he committed strike five for the second-degree rape of his sister-in-law at the Woodinville home he shared with his wife in 1995. His reign of terror ended when he was convicted under the new three strikes law and sentenced to life without parole.

Three strikes law are referred to the strike out in a baseball game, wherein a batter against whom three strikes are recorded strikes out. Three strikes law came out from a slogan which was chanted loudly [ three strikes and you are out]. Three strikes law was firstly implemented in state of Washington in 1993.

Three strikes law campaign was launched by a father of 18 years old young women who was murdered by a man who had an extensive criminal record. This law came into force when a 12 years old girl was abducted and murdered. First stage of this law was passed in 1993 when it was approved by the voters of Washington and it became a law in 1994.

After this a petition was signed by 800000 people to not only to deter offenders but to enforce a strict 25 year life sentence on those who were convicted more than once. This statute has faced many controversies and one of the controversy was that the third crime should not be a serious crime as it would include a 25 years sentence for a less serious offence. In 2012, the law was adjusted to declare third strike only if it was a very violent offence

The category of crimes referred as 'violent' includes murder, kidnapping, sexual abuse, aggravated robbery. The statute also mentions that felonies like unarmed robbery or arsons are not a threat to human life.

Three strikes law require both a felony and two other previous convictions to serve a compulsory life imprisonment and it limits the ability of these offenders to receive a punishment other than a life imprisonment.

Essential elements
Three strikes law has three of the essential elements, which are to be fulfilled for the application of the law in a particular case:

  1. It requires both and extreme furious felonies
  2. To previous convictions to carry out
  3. Compulsory life imprisonment in prison

Criticisms faced by three strikes law

The third strike should not be a conviction for furious and serious crimes, any conviction involving even a non-violent act to be punished with 25 years of imprisonment.

It somehow obstructs the framework of the court and blocks the Defendants who must be detained. Being in prison for such a long duration would decrease the chances for the trial and that of a fair trial. It also opposed the faith in rehabilitation and it can be proved as these laws encouraged punishments in place of healing and striking down the law reunites them with their families and would increase the opportunities to change themselves.

Three strikes law in America

The three strikes legalisation is two-pronged in its application. A convict shall be imprisoned for life if he committed a serious crime and he has two previous convictions, where one qualifies as a serious felony and other one too is of substantial gravity such as a drug offence. Main purpose of such legalisation is to decrease the number of repeat offenders by discouraging them from committing any other violations.

Previous convictions of an offender are made a factor to provide evidence to a present judgement. The three strikes law speaks only of serious crimes, however, because of its inconsistent drafting many times crimes which are not serious in nature are going to get a very low penalty. The real aim of three strikes law was to decrease the number of violent offences while making a judicial element which adequately punishes criminals for their anti-social or violent acts.

Three strikes law helped many states in bringing down the number of serious or violent crimes but it also faced many controversies because of its inconsistency. In California, criminal records shows that many of the offenders have been found guilty under three strikes law for crimes or acts like steaking a sandwich or breaking into a soup kitchen.

The data also show that most of the offenders are of African- American origin. The central government decided to review convictions of 4000 offenders who had been imprisoned under three strikes law, making basic provisions like parole breaks available to them.

The government accepted that many offenders who have been founded guilty under three strikes law do not deserve such extreme sentences. It was the biggest penal experiment of its modern American history due to its differentiated provisions and most importantly the doubling of nominal sentences for many second-strike offenders.

Three strikes law in India

INDIA has seen an extreme rise in criminal activities ever since independence. The statistical changes in country's criminal records are published every year by the national crime bureau. Under crime over time, murder rate has increased by 7% as compared to 1953 scenario and kidnapping has increased by 47% and cognizable crimes have increased by 1.5% . Rape one of the most heinous crimes, is amongst India's highest recorded criminal acts, outnumbering countless felonies.

The case of Nirbhaya shook the countries to its roots and which still questions that guarantees freedom to safety to its citizens, irrespective of their gender, but fail miserably in implementation. These issues are recognised in Indian jurisprudence and many legislative reforms have been under taken to facilitate the judicial and enforcement precepts.

Three strikes law in Indian states of affairs can bring about revolutionary changes. Indian judiciary is practicing 'enhanced sentencing'. a rule which takes offenders criminal history in account can drastically restrict repeat Crimes and discourage the offender who committed the crime for the first time from committing any illicit acts.

The existing laws in India are not identical are somewhat believed sue generics to the three strikes law in cases of sexual offences and another abhorrent and loathsome crimes on paper. The government of India has realized the need for the hour and has taken some steps but as clearly seen they are not enough.

In a country where the crimes are increasing at this rate, the need to implement the 'Three Strikes Law' is at the peak as it could be the hope for the country . According to the surveys, most of the time the criminal is known for the victim and also has a list of crimes committed before. By passing this law, they will be forced to think 100 times before committing such act as after second-strike there will be knockout and no way out would be there after such sentence is declared.



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