Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Three strikes - an anti-climax

ACT has just issued a press release entitled; 'Three strikes' to become law.

ACT Leader Rodney Hide was today pleased to announce that ACT's 'Three Strikes' policy is to be incorporated into the Government's Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill for passing into law.

The deal that is acceptable to National seems well short of what ACT wanted.

David Garrett says;

"The key issues were the list of 'strike' offences, whether there should be a three or five year sentence to qualify for a 'strike' or just a conviction, and whether the 'Third Strike' would mean 'life' or the 'max',"

As the release reads, the sentence settled on to qualify the conviction as a 'strike' is 7 years.

And as far as I can ascertain the third strike simply delivers the maximum sentence without parole.

(You can make the comments).


david said...

You are correct that the third strike sentence will be the maximum for the offence in question - but I cannot see how that can be called an anti-climax.

The maximum penalty for aggravated robbery is 14 years, but there are felons out there with 10 or a dozen agg robs under their belts who have never (and would never but for this legislation) receive anything like that period of imprisonment.

Over time, there will be no more William Bells or Antonie Dixons who get the chance to wrack up dozens and dozens of convictions for violence before becoming killers.

Lindsay said...

The original promise was "...criminals who are convicted a third time will be sent to prison for life with a minimum non-parole period of 25 years. The sentence will be mandatory."

Gooner said...

Lindsay, sometimes in life, and most times in politics, you don't always get what you want so you compromise to get most of what you want. You can get 85% of what you promised or 0%. You choose.

David Farrar said...

ACT have actually won a major compromise. The original bill only had a second strike if your first strike resulted in a conviction of more than three/five years.

Now you gain a first strike if convicted of a crime with a maximum sentence of seven years or more - regardless of what your actual sentence is.

This means that even if you only get three months for indecent assault, that will count as a first strike.

ACT have expanded significantly what counts as a strike, by having it determined on the basis of offence, not sentence.sati

Lindsay said...

The reason I left it for others to comment is because, as I said at Kiwiblog earlier, I was always ambivalent about three strikes.

David Farrar's comment here gives a good example of why. If someone is given three months for indecent assault (when the max is 7 years at least) one assumes it is because the nature of the offending was tending towards the trivial or contentious. Perhaps of the nature the 'well known comedian' is facing. Under this legislation it counts as a strike.

But my original comment stands. ACT got well short of what they and their tough on law and order voters wanted. When the range of qualifying convictions is considered (bestiality is still included) that might be a good thing.

democracymum said...

I also see it as a bit of "damp squib" particularly as the judiciary can still exercise discretion as to invoke the three-strike penalty.

Anonymous said...

But we all know Farrar is an apologist for anything National does and will defend his masters tooth and nail.

He is a discredited sycophant.

brian_smaller said...

No mention of property crime. That is what most people are concerned about. Coming home and findign their house burgled.

Anonymous said...

It's an improvement, but a copout really. Socialist NZ is crime ridden and the govt almost advocates it. MMP does not help NZ at all, it just helps the lobby groups.

Anonymous said...

Lindsay: The original bill was a bad one, so that it hasn't gone through is a good thing. The compromise bill is actually far better. In general the three strikes rules and mandatory sentencing are very bad ideas for the same reason that any "one size fits all" policy of government is a bad idea. They can't take circumstances into account and they will eventually backfire by inflicting a great deal of harm, where it should be inflicted.

Anonymous said...

The only strike that works on crims is one from a baton! The only way you "out" crims is with a Glock!