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LOS ANGELES (AP) — California voters reined in the nation's harshest three strikes law Tuesday with the passage of a ballot measure that allows for shorter sentences for some third-time offenders.
With 26 percent of precincts reporting, Proposition 36 passed with a commanding 68 percent of the vote total.
Fewer repeat offenders will now qualify for a three-strikes sentence of 25-years-to life, while some 2,800 prisoners serving that term can now apply for sentence reductions.
Until now, a person convicted of two violent and serious felonies would automatically be sentenced to 25-years-to-life if convicted of a third crime, regardless of its severity.
California was the only state of 24 with three-strikes law to have that provision.
Now, the third conviction must be a serious and violent crime as well.
"The historic passage of Prop. 36 overturns the long-held conventional wisdom that it's impossible to fix our most extreme and unjust crime laws," said Stanford University law professor David Mills, who helped write the measure and was one of its biggest donors. Mills contributed nearly $1 million to the measure.
"My most sincere hope is that this victory serves as a turning point that inspires others to advocate for more sane and humane criminal justice policies," Mills said. Read more