Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
LA Prosecutor Backs Bill to Remove Youth Offenses from 'Three Strikes' Count
gvw_ap_news
By Associated Press
Published 3 years ago on
April 9, 2021

Share

SACRAMENTO — Los Angeles’ new reform-minded top prosecutor said Friday that it’s time to remove youthful offenders from California’s tough career criminal law that can greatly extend their prison time later in life.

Juvenile Cases Should be ‘Based on Rehabilitation, Not on Punishment’

District Attorney George Gascón, who runs the nation’s largest prosecutors’ office, backed pending legislation that would prevent juvenile “strikes” from counting toward future sentencing enhancements under the state’s “three-strikes” law that can lead to life prison sentences for repeat serious offenders.

“The juvenile system is based on rehabilitation, not on punishment,” he said. Juvenile cases are not considered criminal proceedings, and he noted juvenile offenders lack the same constitutional protections as adults, such as the right to jury trials.

Yet state law treats juvenile strikes for youths age 16 and older the same as for adults, subjecting them to longer prison terms if they are later convicted of second- and third strikes. A second strike doubles the underlying sentence and a third serious or violent felony can trigger a life sentence.

That helps crowd prisons and disproportionately affects people of color, Gascón argued.

No Comment Yet from CA District Attorneys Association

The California District Attorneys Association, which has sparred with Gascón on other actions, has not yet taken a position on the proposal, said legislative director and former prosecutor Larry Morse.

“I expect there will be a wide range of opinions among the DAs on that bill. It’s obviously a provocative and intriguing proposal,” Morse said, in part because of the argument that state law treats juveniles differently than adults.

“It makes absolutely no sense that a kid who can’t go to prom would have an action at that point … that could be used down the line to count as a third strike,” said Democratic Assemblyman Miguel Santiago of Los Angeles, who is carrying the bill.

His proposed legislation would allow those who were previously issued a strike in juvenile court to have it vacated and to seek resentencing if they are currently incarcerated.

Michele Hanisee, a deputy district attorney and president of the Association of Deputy District Attorneys for Los Angeles County that also has sparred with Gascón, said through a spokesman that she couldn’t comment because the union’s board has not taken a position on the bill.

Unfair to Harshen Punishment for Actions Committed as an Adolescent

Youths ages 16 and 17 “are not fully developed adults” and are much more likely to be driven by impulsive behavior or their peers, said Rahn Minagawa, a clinical psychologist based in San Diego. So to toughen their punishment years later for things they did as adolescents “is just inherently unfair,” he said in arguing for the bill.

It would take a two-thirds vote by legislators to change the three-strikes law first approved by voters in 1994 and softened in a 2012 ballot measure to avoid imposing life sentences for minor crimes. But Democrats have that margin in the Legislature.

Gascón defeated the incumbent in the nation’s largest prosecutors’ office last year while running on a reform platform. But he since has faced blowback including legal actions from his own employees, public criticism from the state prosecutors’ association, and may be challenged with a recall election.

He has also criticized the broader adult three strikes law, saying it brings excessive and costly sentences without improving public safety.

RELATED TOPICS:

DON'T MISS

How California Legislators Got More Than $1.4 Million in Travel and Gifts in 2023

DON'T MISS

‘Digital Democracy’ Project Penetrates California’s Opaque Political Processes

DON'T MISS

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

DON'T MISS

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

DON'T MISS

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

DON'T MISS

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

DON'T MISS

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

DON'T MISS

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

DON'T MISS

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

DON'T MISS

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

UP NEXT

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

UP NEXT

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

UP NEXT

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

UP NEXT

Oakland Officials Vote to Include ‘San Francisco’ in Airport’s Name

UP NEXT

Several Writers Decline Recognition From PEN America in Protest Over Its Israel-Hamas War Stance

UP NEXT

US Consumer Sentiment Falls Slightly as Outlook for Inflation Worsens

UP NEXT

Tennessee Lawmakers Send Bill to Ban First-Cousin Marriages to Governor

UP NEXT

Instagram Blurs Nude Messages to Protect Teens, Fight Sexual Extortion

UP NEXT

Harvard Again Requiring Standardized Test Scores for Those Seeking Admission

UP NEXT

After Fong Ruling, a ‘Bitter Pill to Swallow’ for US Senate Losers Katie Porter & Barbara Lee?

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

2 days ago

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

2 days ago

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

2 days ago

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

2 days ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

2 days ago

California Man Sentenced to 40 Years to Life for Fatal Freeway Shooting of 6-Year-Old Boy

2 days ago

16 Clovis Students Rewarded With Scholarships for Their Resilience

2 days ago

Dr. Green Thumb’s Is Open. Sweet Flower Debuts Saturday in Fresno Cannabis Rollout.

2 days ago

Reacher Star Alan Ritchson Calls Donald Trump a ‘Rapist’

2 days ago

Community Leaders Call for Transparency in Fresno Superintendent Search

2 days ago

How California Legislators Got More Than $1.4 Million in Travel and Gifts in 2023

Last June, more than half of California’s lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats alike, with no particular ideological preference — attended ...

19 hours ago

19 hours ago

How California Legislators Got More Than $1.4 Million in Travel and Gifts in 2023

19 hours ago

‘Digital Democracy’ Project Penetrates California’s Opaque Political Processes

1 day ago

US Shoots Down Iran-Launched Attack Drones as Biden Team Pledges ‘Support’ for Israel

2 days ago

Sacramento Gave Homeless Camp a Lease as an Experiment. Here’s What Happened.

2 days ago

Merced Supervisors Accused of ‘Triple Crown Race’ of Failures Amid Talk of Closing Fire Stations

2 days ago

Teacher Appreciation Week Surprises That Educators Will Love

2 days ago

A Mission of Mercy, Then a Fatal Strike: How an Aid Convoy in Gaza Became Israel’s Target

2 days ago

Walberg Era Begins With a Charge to ‘Revolutionize’ Bulldogs Basketball

MENU

CONNECT WITH US

Search

Send this to a friend