January 23, 2011
Bill to Amend
California’s Three Strikes Law Passes Appropriations Committee
On January 19th, AB 327 (Davis), a bill to amend California?s Three Strikes Law cleared the Assembly Appropriations Committee. AB 327 must pass the full Assembly by January 31, 2012. If AB 327 passes the Assembly, the bill will move to the Senate where it will have until June 28th to pass the Senate policy committee, the Senate fiscal committee, and the Senate Floor.
The bill would put an initiative on the ballot to require that the ?third strike? of the California Three Strikes Law be classified as ?serious? or ?violent?. Assemblymember Mike Davis, whose district includes a portion of the city of Los Angeles and Inglewood, amended AB 327 to carry the current language on January 4, 2012. For the full language click here.
More than 24,500 nonviolent offenders are serving two or three times what they would have served if they have not been convicted under California?s Three Strikes Law. Many of these offenders are serving life sentences. For example, nonviolent crimes such as possession of a controlled substance, filling out a false DMV application, and petty theft are crimes that can put someone behind bars for life under the current Three Strikes Law.
AB 327 would give voters the opportunity to revisit the original goal of this law amidst the current fiscal and prison overcrowding crisis.
There were four organizations that testified in support of the bill at the committee hearing: California State Conference of the NAACP, California Attorneys for Criminal Justice (CACJ), Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), and Friends Committee on Legislation of California (FCLCA). The two organizations that testified in opposition are: the California District Attorneys Association (CDAA) and Crime Victims United of California (CVUC).