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Old 17th June 2022, 02:11 PM   #1
Matthew Best
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Life sentence for marijuana possession

The Mississippi Supreme Court has confirmed a life sentence for a man convicted of marijuana possession (he had an ounce and half).

It was a "three strikes and you're out" kind of deal - his first two strikes were for house burglary and being a felon in possession of a firearm.

I don't know man, it seems like this is harshing my mellow somewhat.

https://www.wlbt.com/2022/06/16/high...na-possession/
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Old 17th June 2022, 02:18 PM   #2
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Bet an ounce in Mississippi is where it turns from a misdemeanor into a felony. Three strikes laws are weird, and I'm not sure I like them, but... Felony drug possession in a three strikes state, when you already have two strikes on your record, seems like a pretty reasonable case of 'play stupid games, win stupid prizes'. Dude knew he was going down if he got caught again, and decided to stay in the life and take his chances.
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Old 17th June 2022, 02:26 PM   #3
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Well, seems an insane penalty to me. But I do have a rep as the sensitive type, I guess.

There has been some talk lately that jurisdiction is king, so I guess this decision is OK in that sense? I hope somehow it doesn't stick, though. See like either poorly written, or simply unjust law.

How many other states would enforce such a penalty in this case, I wonder?
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Old 17th June 2022, 02:33 PM   #4
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Also the thread title is fake news clickbait. It's a life sentence for three felonies, in a three strikes state.
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Old 17th June 2022, 02:46 PM   #5
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No, he was found guilty of possession of marijuana and sentenced to life imprisonment. It's totally accurate.

If I'd wanted to do clickbait, I would have said "You won't believe what sentence this guy got for possession of marijuana" and then made you click to find out. I explained exactly what happened in my post.
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Old 17th June 2022, 02:49 PM   #6
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Wonder if the lack of basic education there means they think "one ounce" is like two truck-loads.
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Old 17th June 2022, 02:53 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Matthew Best View Post
No, he was found guilty of possession of marijuana and sentenced to life imprisonment. It's totally accurate.

If I'd wanted to do clickbait, I would have said "You won't believe what sentence this guy got for possession of marijuana" and then made you click to find out. I explained exactly what happened in my post.
The sentence was because the marijuana was the third strike. This makes a lot more sense, and much more accurately describes the outcome and the reason for the outcome, than your headline. You obfuscated important context.
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Old 17th June 2022, 02:53 PM   #8
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How's that war on drugs working out for you America? Have you won yet?
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Old 17th June 2022, 02:54 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Matthew Best View Post
No, he was found guilty of possession of marijuana and sentenced to life imprisonment. It's totally accurate.

If I'd wanted to do clickbait, I would have said "You won't believe what sentence this guy got for possession of marijuana" and then made you click to find out. I explained exactly what happened in my post.
No, because possession of marijuana was not what he got life for.

See http://www.internationalskeptics.com...36&postcount=7
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Old 17th June 2022, 03:01 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Norman Alexander View Post
Wonder if the lack of basic education there means they think "one ounce" is like two truck-loads.
Even New Zealand considers an ounce of weed (28 grams) to be a more serious offense:

https://www.legislation.govt.nz/act/...html#DLM436784

Tell us more about the lack of basic education in New Zealand.
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Old 17th June 2022, 03:04 PM   #11
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There are reasonable arguments for three strikes laws, mostly that by the third conviction the statistics suggest strongly that life of crime lays ahead for the felon in questions. Life for the third felony that just happens to be just enough pot to make a felony seems a bit excessive. Especially considering that possession of MJ should not be a crime.

I think I could get behind either more moderate three strikes laws, a less steep increase or have them only apply to violence and gun crimes.
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Old 17th June 2022, 03:06 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Matthew Best View Post
No, he was found guilty of possession of marijuana and sentenced to life imprisonment. It's totally accurate.

If I'd wanted to do clickbait, I would have said "You won't believe what sentence this guy got for possession of marijuana" and then made you click to find out. I explained exactly what happened in my post.
Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
The sentence was because the marijuana was the third strike. This makes a lot more sense, and much more accurately describes the outcome and the reason for the outcome, than your headline. You obfuscated important context.
I would say, accurate but misleading due to omission of relevant info, I still wouldn't complain.
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Old 17th June 2022, 04:08 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
I would say, accurate but misleading due to omission of relevant info, I still wouldn't complain.
Technically correct is the worst kind of correct.
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Old 17th June 2022, 05:05 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by Skeptical Greg View Post
No, because possession of marijuana was not what he got life for.
Yes, it was.

Quote:
This certiorari case considers whether Allen Russell’s life sentence without the
possibility of parole for possession of marijuana
, as an habitual offender under Mississippi
Code Section 99-19-83 (Rev. 2020), violates his Eighth Amendment right to be free from
cruel and unusual punishment.
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1i3J...lbZdgWkH5/view
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Old 17th June 2022, 05:13 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Matthew Best View Post
No it wasn't. Context matters. We all know what three strikes laws are and how they work. We all know that a life sentence for a third strike felony is different from a life sentence for a felony possession with no other context. Your headline is playing silly buggers with context and meaning.
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Old 17th June 2022, 05:18 PM   #16
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Stop whining. I said it was a three strikes deal right in the OP.

I think I'll trust the Supreme Court to say what he was sentenced for over some rando on the internet.
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Old 17th June 2022, 05:38 PM   #17
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I know of people that left three strikes states after two felonies. They had seen results of such a law with friends and knew they wouldn't stay out of trouble.

I just found it easier to not commit a felony but others considered the risk acceptable. Some thought they were the smartest ever and would never be caught.
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Old 17th June 2022, 06:22 PM   #18
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I read the article...disgraceful.

Three strikes laws seem unconstitutional. The man is, in essence, serving a life sentence for weed (normally three years max), as he had already served his other sentences. Did we just pull all those extra years out of our butts?

By the way medical marijuana is legal in Missisippi, according to the OP article. And he's gonna die in prison. Justice?

Life without the possibility of parole. "It's the only sentence available" Sounds like Mississippi North Korea.

Call me cynical, but I bet that law works exactly the way they want it to there.

I delivered pot plants to 2 dispensaries today for a place I work. I work in a room with hundreds of pounds of weed - I do graphics and my desk is in there. Kinda hard for me to read this article without screaming.

Maybe one of these decades the feds will get around to legalizing or rescheduling/reclassifying pot? Hello, Biden? Obama? WTF?
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Old 17th June 2022, 06:53 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Also the thread title is fake news clickbait. It's a life sentence for three felonies, in a three strikes state.
You clearly don't know what "clickbait" means!

Originally Posted by Matthew Best View Post
No, he was found guilty of possession of marijuana and sentenced to life imprisonment. It's totally accurate.

If I'd wanted to do clickbait, I would have said "You won't believe what sentence this guy got for possession of marijuana" and then made you click to find out. I explained exactly what happened in my post.
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Old 17th June 2022, 06:56 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
No it wasn't. Context matters. We all know what three strikes laws are and how they work. We all know that a life sentence for a third strike felony is different from a life sentence for a felony possession with no other context.
Pointless, quibbling semantics
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Old 18th June 2022, 05:22 AM   #21
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This is why three strikes laws are a bad idea.
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Old 18th June 2022, 05:52 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
This is why three strikes laws are a bad idea.
Yes and no.

Three strikes laws are bad when the list of what felonies qualify as a "strike" is overly broad.

Even a more discriminating list of laws which deal with specific harm to an individual vs. laws "against the public good" would be an enormous improvement.

There's a vein of assumption even in this thread about people repeatedly committing felonies that seems to assume violent crimes are what is being addressed.

But let's take an example merely involving much harder drugs. Felony possession of heroine or meth, three times and you go in for life?

Assuming no intervention of substance abuse treatment*, one may almost call this an inevitable outcome.

That's without even going into the kinds of crimes one commits in the pursuit of feeding a deep cycle of addiction (and all the sociological reasons that happens).

*court-ordered treatment as practiced in the U.S. is appallingly bad.
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Old 18th June 2022, 07:11 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by mgidm86 View Post
By the way medical marijuana is legal in Missisippi, according to the OP article. And he's gonna die in prison. Justice?
Medical opiods are also legal, but we still put people away for dealing them illegally. Of course it's justice. What else would it be?
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Old 18th June 2022, 07:18 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by ahhell View Post
There are reasonable arguments for three strikes laws, mostly that by the third conviction the statistics suggest strongly that life of crime lays ahead for the felon in questions. Life for the third felony that just happens to be just enough pot to make a felony seems a bit excessive. Especially considering that possession of MJ should not be a crime.

I think I could get behind either more moderate three strikes laws, a less steep increase or have them only apply to violence and gun crimes.
Then surely a better and cheaper system would be to try and stop them from hitting that conveyor belt? Keep them out of jail, ensure they aren't in poverty and help with any medical issue I would have thought be a couple of ideas you could try?

I am sure there will still be many that wouldn't work for so not saying it would end the need for prisons and the like but surely the idea of locking someone up for life should only be reserved for the most heinous of crimes?
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Old 18th June 2022, 09:48 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Delphic Oracle View Post
Yes and no.

Three strikes laws are bad when the list of what felonies qualify as a "strike" is overly broad.
Bingo, there's the real issue. If possession of an ounce and a half wasn't a felony in Alabama, there would be no story here. I checked and simple personal use possession "any amount" is a misdemeanor, but it is punishable by up to a year in prison. They must have gotten him on other than personal use, which is a felony.

BTW, this detail from the article is pretty devastating to his case:

Quote:
Justices even provide an account of Russell’s last arrest: “It is pertinent to note that the arrest came while law enforcement was attempting to serve another drug-related warrant on Russell as well as execute a search warrant on his premises,” justices wrote. “Chemical gas had to be deployed to obtain Russell’s surrender.”
It sounds very much like he was not some minor pot dealer or user.
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Old 18th June 2022, 11:40 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
This is why three strikes laws are a bad idea.
Didn't California revise their 3 strikes law to things like violent felonies or some other eay?
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Old 18th June 2022, 01:22 PM   #27
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Just chiming in to agree that the hommes did not get life for pot. He got life for refusing to stop commiting felonies. Possession just happened to be the back breaking straw.

If it's the law, and you simply refuse to stop breaking it, it really doesn't matter what the last offense is. Y'all is going down for refusing to stay away from the felony lines.

Kind of liklike the AoC arguments on another thread here. Doesn't matter if you think it should be 16 or 18. What matters is what it actually is, and which side of the line you are on.
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Old 18th June 2022, 01:27 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
If it's the law, and you simply refuse to stop breaking it, it really doesn't matter what the last offense is. Y'all is going down for refusing to stay away from the felony lines.

Kind of liklike the AoC arguments on another thread here. Doesn't matter if you think it should be 16 or 18. What matters is what it actually is, and which side of the line you are on.

I don't know, man. That sounds an awful lot like, "the justification for this bad law is that it exists".
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Old 18th June 2022, 01:41 PM   #29
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Three strikes laws are lazy governance, generally. They pander to mouth breathers. It is possible to address habitual offenders without resorting to mandatory life sentences for relatively minor infractions.
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Old 18th June 2022, 02:04 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
I don't know, man. That sounds an awful lot like, "the justification for this bad law is that it exists".
Fighting a bad law is one gig, and I agree that a couple hundred bucks worth of pot should not be a felony.

But that's a different game, laudible though it may be in its own right. Three Strikes means you just relentlessly won't play by the rules. Maybe you'll have a little AoC philosophical difference regarding 8 yr olds next? Kind of doesn't really matter what the felonies are. What matters is refusal to stop committing them.
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Old 18th June 2022, 02:14 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Fighting a bad law is one gig, and I agree that a couple hundred bucks worth of pot should not be a felony.

But that's a different game, laudible though it may be in its own right. Three Strikes means you just relentlessly won't play by the rules. Maybe you'll have a little AoC philosophical difference regarding 8 yr olds next? Kind of doesn't really matter what the felonies are. What matters is refusal to stop committing them.

Ummm....

Anyway, 28 states have 3 strike laws. I would imagine that the way they implement them can vary a bit, based on the "strikes"?

Even before we get to that, though...we have to look at the charge associated with the weed. Should that even be a felony? Look at the varying amounts for felony classification, by state. Some states don't even have a felony charge:

https://www.findlaw.com/state/crimin...-by-state.html
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Old 18th June 2022, 02:29 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by Warp12 View Post
Ummm....

Anyway, 28 states have 3 strike laws. I would imagine that the way they implement them can vary a bit, based on the "strikes"?

Even before we get to that, though...we have to look at the charge associated with the weed. Should that even be a felony? Look at the varying amounts for felony classification, by state. Some states don't even have a felony charge:

https://www.findlaw.com/state/crimin...-by-state.html
Ok, but that's not what 3 strikes are all about. You can't really commit 3 felonies and then wax metaphysical about whether they should have been felonies in the first place. You run that in reverse: challenge the felony designation in the courts, get them reclassified if your voters/judges agree. Retro justification smacks of opportunism.
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Old 18th June 2022, 02:34 PM   #33
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If coked up securities brokers got busted more often, I bet this kind of law wouldn't even exist.

But *sigh* sing the chorus with me everyone...

"This is America"
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Old 18th June 2022, 02:37 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Ok, but that's not what 3 strikes are all about. You can't really commit 3 felonies and then wax metaphysical about whether they should have been felonies in the first place. You run that in reverse: challenge the felony designation in the courts, get them reclassified if your voters/judges agree. Retro justification smacks of opportunism.
"If I ignore the very heart of the thing people are disagreeing with, well then I'm right."

ETA: also, there's quite a distance between smoking pot and raping teenage girls. What a disgusting comparison.

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Old 18th June 2022, 03:12 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Delphic Oracle View Post
"If I ignore the very heart of the thing people are disagreeing with, well then I'm right."

ETA: also, there's quite a distance between smoking pot and raping teenage girls. What a disgusting comparison.
(Your eta: AoC is being argued on another thread, with that poster. Bit of a cross-thread consistency reference)
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Old 18th June 2022, 05:25 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
(Your eta: AoC is being argued on another thread, with that poster. Bit of a cross-thread consistency reference)
I quoted the wrong post, so apologies for the confusion.

I'm perfectly aware of where the AoC reference was drawn from.

I don't find it an appropriate comparison.

Technicalities over raping a 16 vs 18 year old are not anywhere near technicalities of what felonies a 3 strike law should or shouldn't apply to.

It is malum prohibitum vs. malum in se. But that artful terminology doesn't really capture the essence, either. So I stand by calling it disgusting.

ETA: a capricious, arbitrary law should be rescinded, certainly. But to say to those under it the only fair and proper response is they must work within a corrupt and disinterested system to change it while maintaining anyone punished by it in the meantime is fair game and deserves it is just* nonsense.

*or perhaps unjust

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Old 18th June 2022, 05:43 PM   #37
Thermal
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Originally Posted by Delphic Oracle View Post
I quoted the wrong post, so apologies for the confusion.

I'm perfectly aware of where the AoC reference was drawn from.

I don't find it an appropriate comparison.

Technicalities over raping a 16 vs 18 year old are not anywhere near technicalities of what felonies a 3 strike law should or shouldn't apply to.

It is malum prohibitum vs. malum in se. But that artful terminology doesn't really capture the essence, either. So I stand by calling it disgusting.

ETA: a capricious, arbitrary law should be rescinded, certainly. But to say to those under it the only fair and proper response is they must work within a corrupt and disinterested system to change it while maintaining anyone punished by it in the meantime is fair game and deserves it is just* nonsense.

*or perhaps unjust
Interestingly, you appear to have projected another entirely made up and irrelevant meaning to find disgusting and be offended about. We all have our hobbies, I suppose.
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Old 18th June 2022, 11:25 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by Thermal View Post
Ok, but that's not what 3 strikes are all about. You can't really commit 3 felonies and then wax metaphysical about whether they should have been felonies in the first place. You run that in reverse: challenge the felony designation in the courts, get them reclassified if your voters/judges agree. Retro justification smacks of opportunism.
I'd just like to point out that apparently Alabama was applying a "four strikes" law.

Quote:
The defendant had previously been convicted of two separate charges of house burglary and one charge of being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm.
Now I will say that if the law gets changed for possession of an ounce and a half (for personal use irrelevant) so that Russell would no longer be guilty of a felony, then he should no longer be subject to the life sentence; I am 100% in favor of ex-post facto law changes being applied to free prisoners.
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Old 19th June 2022, 04:20 AM   #39
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Originally Posted by Brainster View Post
I'd just like to point out that apparently Alabama was applying a "four strikes" law.



Now I will say that if the law gets changed for possession of an ounce and a half (for personal use irrelevant) so that Russell would no longer be guilty of a felony, then he should no longer be subject to the life sentence; I am 100% in favor of ex-post facto law changes being applied to free prisoners.
Is it possible that the ‘use of firearm” was concurrent with one of the burglary charges?

Surely 3 strikes laws do not apply when charges are ‘stacked’?
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Old 19th June 2022, 06:22 AM   #40
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Originally Posted by Delphic Oracle View Post
"If I ignore the very heart of the thing people are disagreeing with, well then I'm right."

ETA: also, there's quite a distance between smoking pot and raping teenage girls. What a disgusting comparison.
He wasn't indicted for smoking pot. There's plenty not to like here, without you having to make up lies about what happened.
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