Petition drive to scale back California’s three strikes law cleared for circulation

Supporters of a proposed ballot initiative gained clearance Tuesday to seek signatures for a measure that would further roll back California's three strikes law.

Supporters of a proposed ballot initiative gained clearance Tuesday to seek signatures for a measure that would further roll back California’s three strikes law.

(Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

The secretary of state’s office Tuesday gave the green light for supporters to collect signatures for a proposed ballot initiative that would further soften California’s three strikes law.

A review of the 19-page proposal by the Legislative Analyst’s Office estimates that if passed it would save the state several hundred million dollars a year, but cost counties some $100 million a year as offenders go to jail instead of prison.

The three strikes law requires sentences of 25 years to life for those convicted of three violent felonies. The ballot initiative would drop the expanded penalty for convictions that predated the 1994 law. Some crimes such as burglary of an unoccupied building or making criminal threats would no longer be serious felonies. And the initiative would make it easier for prisoners to petition judges to have their sentences reconsidered.

The proposal would also prevent offenders from being given multiple strikes in a case that involves more than one felony, even though the state Supreme Court already ruled in July 2014 that multiple strikes cannot be charged in a single case.


The request for approval to circulate petitions to put the initiative on the November 2016 ballot was filed by Julie Piccolotti, a resident of Half Moon Bay.

On the application, Piccolotti included the Web address of, which includes links to a GoFundMe crowd-funding account to raise money for the effort and material supporting Proposition 36, a 2012 ballot measure that restricted the extended three strikes sentences to violent felonies.

As of Tuesday afternoon, the GoFundMe account showed 16 donations totaling $480.

Piccolotti did not immediately respond to calls seeking further information.


The conservative Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, based in Sacramento, has already staked a position in opposition to the proposed ballot measure.

For more California corrections news, follow me at @paigestjohn on Twitter

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