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
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.
- 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.
- 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.
Three strikes law has three of the essential elements, which are to be fulfilled
for the application of the law in a particular case:
- It requires both and extreme furious felonies
- To previous convictions to carry out
- 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
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.
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
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.
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.
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