human rights violations, law, most absurd human rights violations

The Most Absurd Human Rights Violations (109): Excessive Sentencing in the U.S., Ctd.

escape scene from O Brother Where Art Thou

escape scene from “O Brother Where Art Thou”


“[T]hree-strike laws” impose a life sentence on persons who have been convicted of three or more serious crimes. However, the definition of serious crimes depends on the each state. In most states, all three must be violent crimes. But in some states, this is not the case. California law mandates the life sentence for any third felony conviction so long as the first two were deemed “violent” or “serious.” Moreover, an individual can receive multiple strikes from a single incident, leading to unexpected life sentences.

In Rummel v. Estelle, the Supreme Court upheld a life sentence with the possibility of parole for William James Rummel for a felony fraud crime amounting to $120.75. On his third offense, Rummel refused to return money received as payment for unsatisfactory repairs of an air conditioning unit, resulting with a life sentence. In Lockyer v. Andrade, Leandro Andrade received a mandatory sentence of 25 to life for stealing a total of nine videotapes at two different K-mart stores. (source)

Other examples are here. Some incarceration statistics are here. And more posts in this series are here.


4 thoughts on “The Most Absurd Human Rights Violations (109): Excessive Sentencing in the U.S., Ctd.

  1. Truely unbelievable how ‘justice’ can lack common sense some times. It is interesting to note that other countries introduced a form of the three strikes law in recent years ( early 2010 it got introduced in New Zealand as part of the Sentencing and Parole Reform Bill). Hopefully, New Zealand justice system will have more common sense and won’t finish with such absurd cases.

  2. I agree truly outrageous… justice is not only blind but deaf and dumb as well. 3 strike rule works for somethings but when someone’s life is on the line… this isn’t a game anymore.

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