With the passing of California’s Proposition 36, a revision to the Three Strikes Law, comes hope for an estimated 3,000 inmates who are currently serving life sentences, after being convicted of minor or non-violent felonies, as a “Third Strike”. Although the addition to the law is complicated, Penal Code Section 1170.126 provides for resentencing for those convicted and serving a life sentence for non-violent felonies. Persons, who qualify, may file a petition for a recall of sentence to request resentencing under Proposition 36. Section 1170.126 requires that the petition be filed within two years after the effective date of the passing of Prop. 36, or at a later date upon a showing of good cause.
In order to qualify for resentencing, as stated above, the third strike conviction cannot have been for a serious and/or violent felony, which includes but is not limited to: murder, rape, kidnapping, child molestation, first-degree burglary and some gun related convictions.
The passing of Prop 36 further prohibits Judges from imposing life sentences on most offenders, even if repeat offenders, for minor crimes. This will prove favorable for the individual who, during their younger years, may have been convicted of serious felonies, but managed to turn their life around for a respectable period of time, only to make a mistake and then be charged with a minor felony and sentenced to life in prison.
Because Proposition 36 is complicated, and there are exceptions based on one’s prior criminal history, anyone who is serving a life sentence for a third strike, should have a family member or friend consult with an experienced criminal defense attorney who can dissect the law as it relates to the three strikes revision. There is no doubt that there are many in Orange County California who will qualify for resentencing under Proposition 36.