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Make Your Voice Heard California Statewide November 2, 2004 General Election
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  Title and Summary | Analysis | Text of Proposed Laws

ARGUMENTS AND REBUTTALS

Proposition 66

Limitations on "Three Strikes" Law. Sex Crimes. Punishment.
Initiative Statute.

ARGUMENT in Favor of
Proposition 66

Ten years ago, voters were asked to pass tougher sentences for repeat violent criminals. We approved the Three Strikes law because that's what we were told it would do.

We weren't told that Three Strikes would also lock up nonviolent, petty offenders for life.

VOTING YES ON PROPOSITION 66 WILL RESTORE THREE STRIKES TO ITS PROMISE AND THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF VOTERS.

Voting YES ON PROPOSITION 66 will:

  • Not result in the release of criminals currently serving time for murder, rape, kidnapping, child molestation, and other truly violent and serious crimes.
  • Apply commonsense sentences to nonviolent, petty offenders.
  • Save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars every year that are wasted on keeping videotape, bread or T-shirt thieves and bad check writers in prison for life.
  • Protect our children by stopping child molesters with a "1 Strike" sentence.

Proponents of the 1994 law claimed that, "Three Strikes keeps career criminals, who rape women, molest innocent children and commit murder, behind bars where they belong."

But, according to the California Department of Corrections, almost 65% of those serving second and third strike sentences were convicted of nonviolent, petty offenses such as writing a bad check, stealing a videotape, loaf of bread or pack of T-shirts.

CALIFORNIANS INTENDED THAT THE THREE STRIKES LAW TARGET MURDERERS, RAPISTS, AND KIDNAPPERS, NOT VIDEOTAPE AND T-SHIRT THIEVES. PROPOSITION 66 WILL RESTORE THREE STRIKES TO WHAT VOTERS INTENDED.

After ten years, Three Strikes has stuck California taxpayers with a $6 billion bill to punish videotape and T-shirt thieves, and other nonviolent petty offenders.

Voting yes on Proposition 66 will save taxpayers billions of dollars over the next decade by doing what makes sense—ensuring that only truly dangerous or violent repeat criminals, such as murderers and kidnappers, spend the rest of their lives in prison.

Don't be fooled by what opponents say. No one serving time for rape, murder, kidnapping, or child molestation will be released by passage of Proposition 66.

PROPOSITION 66 IS NOT ABOUT GETTING SOFT ON CRIME, IT'S ABOUT GETTING SMART ON CRIME.

Read what others are saying:

  • Orange County Register: "The measure . . . will end the unreasonable practice under current law of sending those convicted of petty offenses to life in prison at great cost to taxpayers."
  • The Sacramento Bee: "California needs to modify its three-strikes law, the harshest in the nation."
  • San Jose Mercury News: "The law is wasting tens of millions of tax dollars . . . and wasting lives."
  • Fresno Bee: "Californians have a legitimate interest in protecting themselves by putting away for life . . . violent habitual criminals. But the "Three Strikes" law should not be netting nonviolent, three-time shoplifters for 25-years-to-life sentences."
  • San Francisco Chronicle: ". . . studies by criminal-justice experts show the law to be unduly costly . . . and failing in its primary mission to curb crime."

VOTING YES ON PROPOSITION 66 WILL RESTORE THREE STRIKES TO THE ORIGINAL INTENT OF THE VOTERS, SAVE TAXPAYERS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, AND PROVIDE EVEN STRONGER PROTECTION FOR OUR CHILDREN FROM PREDATORY CHILD MOLESTERS.

VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 66.

www.yesonproposition66.com

RED HODGES, President
Violence Research Foundation

REV. RICK SCHLOSSER, Executive Director
California Church Impact

RONALD HAMPTON, Executive Director
National Black Police Association

REBUTTAL to Argument in Favor of Proposition 66

A wealthy businessman whose adult son is in prison for killing two people and seriously injuring another spent $1.57 million to put Proposition 66 on the ballot. If it passes, his son will be released early. So could some 26,000 other convicted criminals, according to the California District Attorneys Association—which is why the Governor, the Attorney General and every District Attorney in California oppose it.

Proponents of Proposition 66 want you to believe California prisons are filled with petty criminals serving life sentences for writing bad checks and stealing T-shirts. In fact, the average California inmate is convicted of five felonies before ever being sent to state prison. These are hardcore criminals who've worked hard to be in prison.

Judges and district attorneys already have the discretion not to prosecute petty crimes as "strike" offenses. In those rare cases where petty criminals have received disproportionate sentences, the courts have shortened them.

Proposition 66 won't keep murderers, rapists, child molesters, and other violent criminals in prison. It releases thousands of inmates with long records of serious and violent crime—including murder, rape, and child molesting.

Nor will Proposition 66 protect children. It puts some of California's most notorious child molesters back on the street.

Proposition 66 won't save tax money. It will cost taxpayers millions to return thousands of inmates to county jails for re-sentencing and release, and billions more to deal with the cost of higher crime and violence.

Even if you believe "3 Strikes" should be modified, Proposition 66 isn't the answer.

CAM SANCHEZ, President
California Police Chiefs Association

JON COUPAL, President
Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association

SHEILA ANDERSON, President
Prevent Child Abuse California

 

ARGUMENT Against
Proposition 66

Don't be fooled. Proposition 66 won't protect children or save tax money. It creates a new legal loophole for convicted criminals that will cost taxpayers millions of dollars and flood our streets with thousands of dangerous felons, including rapists, child molesters, and murderers. That's why Proposition 66 is strongly opposed by every major public safety, taxpayer, and child protection group in California, including:

  • California Police Chiefs Association
  • California District Attorneys Association
  • Prevent Child Abuse California
  • National Tax Limitation Committee
  • California Sexual Assault Investigators Association
  • California State Sheriffs' Association
  • Mothers Against Gang Violence
  • Marc Klaas, Klaas Kids Foundation

The California District Attorneys Association estimates Proposition 66 will release as many as 26,000 convicted felons from California prisons and return them to the counties for re-sentencing, where cash-strapped jails are already overflowing. These are not petty criminals and low-level drug offenders who steal pizzas and videotapes. These are dangerous hardcore criminals with long histories of serious and violent crimes. Most will have their sentences dramatically reduced if Proposition 66 is approved, including:

  • Edward Rollins, a career criminal with a thirty-year history of serious and violent crime that includes burglary, assault with a deadly weapon, battery of a police officer, robbery, battery with serious bodily injury, receiving stolen property, possession of a sawed-off shotgun, sexual assault and multiple parole violations. Under Proposition 66 he could be eligible to apply for release.
  • Kenneth Parnell, the notorious child molester who kidnapped and sexually assaulted young Steven Staynor for seven years, and who recently was convicted of trying to buy a 4-year-old boy for $500. Instead of serving 25 years to life for his crimes against children, Proposition 66 will set him free within weeks.
  • Steven Matthews, a member of the Aryan Brotherhood with a violent criminal history that includes robbery, kidnapping, murder, and the rape of his mother. Instead of serving 25 years to life, Proposition 66 will put him back on the street in early 2005.

If Proposition 66 passes, arson, residential burglary, attempted burglary, criminal threats, felony gang crimes, and felonies like drunk driving in which innocent people are seriously hurt or killed will no longer be considered "strikes." Likewise, juvenile sex offenders will no longer receive a strike for seriously injuring an elderly or disabled person during an assault with intent to commit rape.

California's crime rate has decreased by twice the national average since voters approved "Three Strikes" in 1994, according to FBI statistics. We've had two million fewer victims, taxpayers have saved an estimated $28.5 billion and dangerous career criminals have been taken off the street. Instead of "fine-tuning" this important public safety law, Proposition 66 destroys it.

According to Wayne Quint, Jr., President of the California Coalition of Law Enforcement Associations: "Crime will go up and innocent people will be hurt or killed if Proposition 66 passes. This is a very dangerous initiative."

We agree.

Don't give violent criminals another loophole to get out of prison. Vote NO on Proposition 66.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, Governor of California

BILL LOCKYER, Attorney General of California

HARRIET SALARNO, Chair
Crime Victims United of California

REBUTTAL to Argument Against Proposition 66

DON'T BE FOOLED BY OPPONENTS' DECEPTIVE SCARE TACTICS.

  • PROPOSITION 66 WON'T RELEASE A SINGLE "Striker," let alone thousands, serving time for rape, murder, or child molestation.
  • PROPOSITION 66 DOES NOT STOP ANYONE CONVICTED OF A CRIME FROM BEING FULLY PUNISHED FOR THEIR CRIME—whether juvenile or adult, arsonist, murderer, or drunk driver, including examples cited by opponents.
  • PROPOSITION 66 DOESN'T "DESTROY" THREE STRIKES. It does exactly what voters originally intended—punish repeat violent criminals with life sentences.

Our opponents hope you'll be fooled. Here's the truth about Proposition 66:

  • PROPOSITION 66 RESTORES VOTERS' INTENT of keeping violent criminals off our streets.
  • PROPOSITION 66 PROTECTS CHILDREN by providing a tougher 1-Strike sentence for child molesters.
  • PROPOSITION 66 STOPS BILLIONS OF TAX DOLLARS FROM BEING WASTED imprisoning shoplifters and other nonviolent petty offenders for life.
  • Proposition 66 will allow three to four thousand nonviolent petty offenders to apply for retrial, but will not release a single violent striker.
  • Criminals opponents cite have served sentences for violent crimes BUT are now incarcerated for nonviolent offenses.

California is the only state with a Three Strikes law that can send someone to prison for life for stealing a loaf of bread. Proposition 66 will make sure the time fits the crime.

Major newspapers across California haven't been fooled by deceptive scare tactics and have repeatedly called for Three Strikes to match voters' intent.

RESTORE THREE STRIKES TO ITS PROMISE, TOUGHEN LAWS AGAINST CHILD MOLESTERS, SAVE TAXPAYERS BILLIONS.

VOTE YES ON PROPOSITION 66—Three Strikes as voters meant it to be in the first place.

MARK LENO, Chairman
California State Assembly Committee on Public Safety

RAMONA RIPSTON, Executive Director
A.C.L.U. of Southern California

JOE KLAAS, Chairman
Citizens Against Violent Crime



Arguments printed on this page are the opinions of the authors and have not been checked for accuracy by any official agency.


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