California’s Three Strikes law is often criticized for its “one size fits all” approach in sentencing a defendant with two or more prior strike convictions. Strikes include, but are not limited to, such offenses as assault with a deadly weapon or with force likely to produce great bodily injury (P.C. § 245(a)(1)), treason, murder, mayhem, vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence or while intoxicated, torture, kidnapping with bodily harm, carjacking, train wrecking, rape, selling drugs to a minor, arson, gang crimes, most sex crimes and criminal threats (P.C. § 422, as of Prop 21 in 1999).
No where was this epitomized better than when a “two striker” stole a single piece of pizza and received life in prison under the law. Indeed, California’s Three Strikes sentencing law, found in Penal Code § 667(b) to (j) and § 1170.12, and the case law interpreting it, have held that “petty theft with a prior” conviction under Penal Code § 666 is a felony subject to sentencing under the Three Strikes law.
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