It´s been a month since a federal appeals court declared that California´s tough on crime three strikes law can produce “cruel and unusual” sentences.
Today, a three-judge panel of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals grappled over that ruling´s fallout. The judges are considering in what circumstances the state´s voter-approved measure unfairly punishes repeat offenders.
Just last month, the court said a life term for a San Bernardino man convicted of shoplifting violated the Constitution´s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. It was the first time any court declared a sentence unconstitutional under California´s three strikes law.
In two cases argued today, the court and lawyers battled over how to balance that case with other three strikes cases on appeal.