thoughtomation

removing the "mis" from information

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Why Three-Strikes Laws are Un-American

In a Constitutional republic, legislatures are constrained by rights they must respect, in this case prohibitions against ex post facto laws, double jeopardy, and excessive punishment, and so on. A legislature cannot pass any law at all and expect it to stand. Because these 3-strikes laws must inevitably breach the 8th Amendment (or the 14th), they won't remain on the books for long.

The legislatures have a responsibility to make sure crimes are punished; they have failed to do so, in permitting inadequate sentencing for crimes; in frustration the people have supported 3-strikes. While I totally agree with the frustration, it is necessary to make laws in accordance with our Constitution regardless of popular passions; that is what distinguishes a republican people from a democratic mob. If the legislatures did their job and crafted laws which properly punished crime, 3-strikes would be moot because practically everyone who qualified would be serving the time they should have been serving in the first place.

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