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Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Patterico seeks your feedback

My friend Patterico — a state-court prosecutor who knows whereof he speaks and writes — is soliciting the blogosphere's help in sharpening a post that he hopes to submit as a newspaper op-ed.  His subject is a proposed revision, called "Proposition 66," to California's "three strikes" law.

If you don't live in California, you may think this is something that doesn't affect, and hence won't interest, you.  Think twice, though.  Our state with the largest population exports ideas in many ways besides through movies and television.  Sharp logic, supported by facts, can indeed have an impact on its voters.  And even if your conclusion is (as mine was) that Patterico's essay is already a nicely polished gem, it's worth your while to watch this debate play out.  And who knows — you may have a unique reaction that prompts a comment that prompts a revision that ends up swinging a few votes.  How cool would that be?

Posted by Beldar at 04:07 AM in Law (2006 & earlier), Politics (2006 & earlier) | Permalink


Other weblog posts, if any, whose authors have linked to Patterico seeks your feedback and sent a trackback ping are listed here:


(1) MD made the following comment | Oct 19, 2004 9:51:07 AM | Permalink

I can infer the proposed changes in Prop 66 from the Patterico piece, and that Patterico opposes those changes, but Patterico does not specify the proposed changes.

I infer the proposed change is: a third "non-violent" felony does not qualify for the three-strike rule. But I'm not sure. This should be clarified.

Would an ordinary voter in California know the details? I don't know.

If this is the proposed change, it should be stated clearly in the opening: "Proposition 66 would modify California's three-strike rule to exempt violent criminals from its consequences if the third strike is a non-violent felony; although well-intentioned, in practice it would endanger California citizens, and most especially its children." Something like that.

Consistent with this lead, the ideas in the second and third to last paragraphs should be move to the top. Then, the case studies should be cited.

The case studies are introduced without a proper foundation or context, and I had to use the examples to infer the content of Prop 66 and the issues that are at stake. Maybe Californians are up to speed on this and don't need the context, but as an outsider I was somewhat lost.

(2) Patterico made the following comment | Oct 19, 2004 11:29:40 AM | Permalink


You have a valid comment, I think. Here's the problem. Most newspapers impose a 650-word limit, which I have barely met. I'd love to give people a primer on how the law works now, why the proposition is bad, and how I'd make it better. But you try doing that in 650 words. Believe me, it's not that many.

So, I am restricting my argument to: here's why you should vote no on this thing. It will release dangerous criminals. Here are some examples. It's funded by a rich guy trying to spring his kid from prison. The fine print makes sweeping changes. And finally, the law is working fine as is. Boom, boom, boom, boom. Make the point and move on.

So, believe me, I'd love to address your questions, but my job right now is not to fix Three Strikes. It's to make sure people vote down this lousy proposition.

Thanks for the link, Beldar!

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