Hot Off The Press – California Three Strikes Law Amended

shutterstock_12264442As NLPA has previously written, a national wave of sentencing reform is occurring, with the wave cresting in the great state of California. Recently, California enacted Senate Bill 9 into law, whereby criminal defendants who were under age eighteen at the time of their crime and who were sentenced to life in prison without parole can ask the sentencing court to review their cases and consider permitting parole after serving twenty-five years in prison. Election Night 2012 provided another sentencing reform breakthrough in California with the passage of Proposition 36. NLPA notes that Proposition 36 passed with an overwhelming 68.65 of voters in favor.

Proposition 36 serves to reform the draconian “Three Strikes” law. The Three Strikes law required judges to sentence third-time offenders who have committed two previous violent or serious felonies to twenty-five to life prison terms for the commission of any third felony, regardless of the severity of the third felony. Although twenty-four other states possess Three Strikes laws, only California’s law permitted the third strike to be for any type of felony. However, with the passage of Proposition 36, a life sentence can only be issued for a third felony when the third felony conviction is considered “serious or violent.” Offenders who were sentenced to life, despite the fact that their third felony was not serious or violent, can now seek sentence modification.

However, contrary to the rhetoric of those opposed to Proposition 36, the amended sentencing law will not lead to “property crimes going up all over the state, and in very short order.” The amended law continues to impose a life sentence penalty if the third strike conviction was for “certain non-serious, non-violent sex or drug offenses or involved firearm possession” and for third strike felonies that are “non-serious, non-violent third strike if prior convictions were for rape, murder, or child molestation.” Clearly, defendants deemed dangerous will not be loosed upon society.

In practical terms, the amended law will permit the approximately 3,000 convicted felons who were, as of November 2012 serving life terms under the Three Strikes law whose third strike conviction was for a nonviolent crime, to be eligible to petition the court for a reduced sentence. It has been estimated that these reduced sentences could save California, and its taxpayers, between $150 and $200 million per year.

Should you have concerns that you are entitled to a lesser sentence based upon recently amended state sentencing laws, contact NLPA immediately, and we will help you in your fight for justice! NLPA will continue to be at the forefront of arguing for such change and in assisting defendants receive fair treatment.

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Hot Off The Press – California Three Strikes Law Amended

As NLPA has previously written, a national wave of sentencing reform is occurring, with the wave cresting in the great state of California. Recently, California enacted Senate Bill 9 into law, whereby criminal defendants who were under age eighteen at the time of their crime and who were sentenced to life in prison without parole can ask the sentencing court to review their cases and consider permitting parole after serving twenty-five years in prison. Election Night 2012 provided another sentencing reform breakthrough in California with the passage of Proposition 36. NLPA notes that Proposition 36 passed with an overwhelming 68.65 of voters in favor.

Proposition 36 serves to reform the draconian “Three Strikes” law. The Three Strikes law required judges to sentence third-time offenders who have committed two previous violent or serious felonies to twenty-five to life prison terms for the commission of any third felony, regardless of the severity of the third felony. Although twenty-four other states possess Three Strikes laws, only California’s law permitted the third strike to be for any type of felony. However, with the passage of Proposition 36, a life sentence can only be issued for a third felony when the third felony conviction is considered “serious or violent.” Offenders who were sentenced to life, despite the fact that their third felony was not serious or violent, can now seek sentence modification.

However, contrary to the rhetoric of those opposed to Proposition 36, the amended sentencing law will not lead to “property crimes going up all over the state, and in very short order.” The amended law continues to impose a life sentence penalty if the third strike conviction was for “certain non-serious, non-violent sex or drug offenses or involved firearm possession” and for third strike felonies that are “non-serious, non-violent third strike if prior convictions were for rape, murder, or child molestation.” Clearly, defendants deemed dangerous will not be loosed upon society.

In practical terms, the amended law will permit the approximately 3,000 convicted felons who were, as of November 2012 serving life terms under the Three Strikes law whose third strike conviction was for a nonviolent crime, to be eligible to petition the court for a reduced sentence. It has been estimated that these reduced sentences could save California, and its taxpayers, between $150 and $200 million per year.

Should you have concerns that you are entitled to a lesser sentence based upon recently amended state sentencing laws, contact NLPA immediately, and we will help you in your fight for justice! NLPA will continue to be at the forefront of arguing for such change and in assisting defendants receive fair treatment.

NLPA Continues Its Mission In Helping Clients And Their Attorneys Obtain Positive Results

NLPA Continues Its Mission In Helping Clients And Their Attorneys Obtain Positive Results

NLPA is always proud to spotlight our victories as we continue to work hard for our clients and their counsel. We continue to lead the way in obtaining successful outcomes for our clients whether it be in challenging their federal sentencing guidelines; pursuing reductions of sentence; requesting DNA evidence; and through administrative requests for transfers, CTC placement or halfway house approvals. Here are several of our most recent victories. As you can see, NLPA continues to be a force to be reckoned with.

Magwood, N- NLPA assisted counsel in the pretrial case of Mr. Magwood which was heard in the USDC, District of South Carolina (Charleston) (Case No.: 2:11-cr-02037-19) where Mr. Magwood was charged with Sell, Distribute or Dispense Crack Cocaine. NLPA prepared research and motions to defend his case at trial which resulted in the jury returning a NOT GUILTY VERDICT!

Britt, C- NLPA assisted the office of Charles Murray in the preparation of a motion for DNA testing to aid in the defense of Mr. Britt’s case on a post-conviction motion which was filed in the State of Florida (Hillsborough County) (Case No. 02-CF-15542). The court granted that motion permitting the DNA evidence to be retested for use in the post-conviction proceedings. Hopefully this will be beneficial to another victory with the actual post-conviction motion itself!

Bowdoin, T – NLPA assisted the office of Charles A. Murray, Esq in the preparation of research for Mr. Bowdoin’s sentencing. His case was heard in the USDC, District of Columbia (Washington, DC) Case No: 1:10-cr-00320-1 where Mr. Bowdoin was charged with Fraud by Wire, Radio or Television; Manipulative and Deceptive Devices; Securities Violation – Sale of Unregistered Securities. Mr. Bowdoin had plead guilty and his PSI listed a guideline range of 168-210 months. However, at sentencing the court instead imposed 78 months – saving him 11 YEARS in prison!

Maldonado, S- NLPA assisted counsel in the preparation of sentencing research in the case of Mr. Maldonado which was heard in the USDC, Western District of New York (Rochester) Case No.: 6:11-cr-06166-1. Mr. Maldonado was charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Narcotics; Sell, Distribute or Dispense Narcotics; Unlawful Transport of Firearms. He plead guilty in the case and his guideline range listed him at 360 TO LIFE. However, at sentencing the court imposed a sentence of 300 months – saving Mr. Maldonado a LIFETIME in prison.

Francis, B – NLPA assisted counsel in preparing sentencing research on the case of Bonnie Francis which was heard in the USDC, District of Maryland (Greenbelt) Case No.:8:09-cr-00012-1 where the defendant had been charged with Conspiracy to Distribute and Possess with intent to Distribute Controlled Substances. The defendant entered into a plea agreement in the case and had a guideline range of 120-121 months. However, at sentencing the judge imposed a sentence of 78 months – saving the defendant more than 3 years in prison.

Gibson, C – NLPA assisted Mr. Gibson’s attorney with the preparation of research to aid at his sentencing which was heard in the USDC District of New Mexico (Roswell) Case No.: 5:11-cr-00918-1. Mr. Gibson was charged with Possession with Intent to Distribute (20 Grams or More Crack Cocaine); Felon in Possession of Firearms and plead guilty in the case. The PSI Report listed his guideline range at 92-115 months. However, at the sentencing hearing the judge imposed a sentence of 63 months – saving Mr. Gibson more than 4 years in prison!

Sheikh, A- NLPA assisted Mr. Sheikh’s attorney in preparing sentencing research to help argue against the guideline range he was facing of 57-71 months. The case was heard in the USDC, Middle District of Tennessee (Nashville) Case No.: 3:10-cr-00260-28 where Mr. Sheikh was charge with Conspiracy to Produce, Use and Traffic in Counterfeit Devices; Conspiracy to persuade another person to alter, destroy, mutilate or conceal an object with the intent to impair the objects integrity for use in an official proceeding. Mr. Sheikh had already entered a plea of guilty in the case. However, the court agreed on a lower sentence of 48 months – saving Mr. Sheikh nearly two years in prison.

Thompson, A- NLPA assisted Mr. Thompson’s counsel in the preparation of research for use at his sentencing hearing. The case was heard in the Alabama USDC Northern District of Alabama (Northeastern) CASE #: 5:11-cr-00239, where Mr. Thompson was charged with Conspiracy to Distribute Cocaine. After entering a plea in the case, the guideline range in his PSI had him listed a sentencing range of 168-210 months. However, the court instead imposed a sentence of 90 months – saving Mr. Thompson TEN YEARS in prison!

Mackey, A – NLPA assisted counsel for Mr. Mackey in the preparation of sentencing research. His case was heard in the USDC, Northern District of Georgia (Atlanta) Case No.: 1:10-cr-00310-1 where Mr. Macky had been charged with Attempt and Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud; Fraud by Wire, Radio or Television; Fraud and Swindles. The defendant was convicted at trial and was facing a sentencing guideline range of LIFE. However, at sentencing the court instead imposed a sentence of 326 months – saving Mr. Mackey a LIFETIME in prison.

Rigsby, R – NLPA assisted Mr. Rigsby in the preparation of an administrative request for CTC / Halfway House placement. Mr. Rigsby had been convicted in the USDC, Southern District of Ohio (Columbus) Case No.: 2:10-cr-00083 and sentenced to sixty (60) months plus five (5) years supervised release. Based upon the request filed, the Bureau of Prisons agreed that instead of reviewing Mr. Rigsby for placement into a CTC / Halfway house facility 6 to 12 months prior to his release date, that they would review him for such at 17 to 19 months prior to his release date.