As a police veteran of 14 years, I want to alert the voters of Costa
Mesa to a deceptive proposition that will appear on this November's
ballot. Proposition 66 is designed to weaken the very effective
"three strikes law," while claiming to toughen the penalties on child
The supporters of Proposition 66 claim they want only to reform
"three strikes" by requiring the third strike to be a serious or
violent felony, forgetting of course, the first two strikes have to
be serious or violent felonies.
Their reform will eliminate six serious felonies that count as
strikes. Among these are residential burglary and felony gang crimes.
Oh, by the way, it doesn't even get tough with child molesters. As
written, it will apply to only four child molesters statewide.
Here is a little secret that only criminals know. You have to
commit a violent felony or multiple other felonies before you do any
jail time. Most felonies are adjudicated as misdemeanors unless the
criminal has had multiple convictions. Bottom line: It takes work to
ever make it to prison. By the time these criminals hit their third
strike, they have worked up quite the rap sheet.
With "three strikes" in place, California's crime rate has dropped
33%, while our population has increased by roughly the same amount.
The rest of the country has seen a crime reduction of only 13%.
According to the California legislative analyst, Proposition 66
would apply retroactively. This means millions of dollars will have
to be spent by counties to reprocess and sentence most of those
convicted. These are dangerous criminals who have demonstrated time
and time again they can't keep from victimizing the rest of us.
Supporters of Proposition 66 like to claim "three strikes" is
unfair because the third strike doesn't have to be violent or
serious. Judges have discretion in applying the third strike if the
facts of the case don't warrant it. At some point, we deserve to be
protected from these career predators.
I ask you to join the California District Attorneys Assn., Orange
County Sheriff Mike Carona, Citizens Against Homicide and many others
by voting no on Proposition 66.
* KEN MADDOX represents the 68th Assembly District, which includes
Costa Mesa and Newport Beach.