New teeth in proposed law are false

KEN MADDOX

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

molesters.

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.

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