Doctrine Change Decision Frees Prisoners

by Hal Mooz 17. December 2012 17:02

East Bay Judge Orders Release of Prop. 36 Inmates

44-year-old Manuel Pena of Richmond will be home for the holidays, after spending 18 years in prison for stealing a pair of tennis shoes and a wallet. His prior crimes had been for robberies in the late 1980s.

Contra Costa County judge Clare Maier on Monday held the county's first hearing to consider early release for the three inmates who qualify for re-sentencing under Proposition 36, which included the fates of Pena, and two other inmates: Rudoph Casillas and Kelly Lee Starnes.

Pena was one of the first people sentenced under California's Three Strikes law, and on Monday, he became one of the first inmates in the state released thanks to Prop. 36, the voter approved measure prohibiting judges from imposing a life sentence on repeat offenders who commit minor crimes.

Before the passage of Prop. 36, anyone who committed two serious felonies could be sent to prison for 25 years even if the third crime was not serious. Prop. 36 now makes only a violent or serious felony count as a "third strike."


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Engineer, Project Manager, Entrepreneur, Author, Trainer, Lecturer, Thought Leader, Consultant

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