US Judge Endorses Three Strikes

ACT New Zealand Justice Spokesman David Garrett today welcomed California Superior Court Judge Eugene Hyman’s comments on the proposed ‘Three Strikes’ legislation, describing them as a refreshing and credible critique of the proposed law - rather than the usual ill-considered analysis.

"Judge Hyman’s comments highlight key differences between California’s ‘Three Strikes’ and our own, showing that - while based on California’s model – our ‘Three Strikes’ is better. Comparing them now is akin to comparing a thoroughbred to a donkey," Mr Garrett said.

"One difference Judge Hyman noted is that unlike California - where ‘Three Strikes’ covers a broad range of offences - our law focuses solely on repeat violent offenders, those he describes as ‘violent scary people’ who ‘because of their violent history and recidivist behaviour, need unfortunately to be locked up for long periods of time.’ These are exactly the type of people our legislation targets.

"Also, our legislation has a narrower focus and is coupled with sentencing directly related to the type of crime committed - meaning the extreme sentences Judge Hyman said he was forced to impose in California will not be a problem we will face here.

"Judge Hyman also stated that offenders were not necessarily deterred by increased penalties. He is correct in that assumption. There are two types of criminal: those that will be deterred by Three Strikes and will stop offending; and those that are not and will be locked up for longer, unable to harm anyone else.

"Judge Hyman’s comments are a welcome – if unintentioned - endorsement of our ‘Three Strikes’ which, containing the best of California’s policy without the negative aspects, will ultimately save innocent lives," Mr Garrett said.