Revised California 3 Strikes law: Man becomes first to be re-sentenced under Prop. 36

Modified version of law passed in early November

SAN DIEGO - A man sentenced to 25 years to life in prison under California's "three strikes" law in 1996 was re-sentenced Wednesday to about 15 years, and released based on credit for time served.

Kenneth Glenn Corley, 62, became the first person to be re-sentenced under Proposition 36, passed earlier this month by California voters

When Corley was convicted of drug possession for sale, he had two felony "strikes" for burglary and attempted burglary and was given the mandatory 25-years-to-life sentence on Oct. 8, 1996.

He was re-sentenced Wednesday by San Diego Superior Court Judge David Danielsen.

"Many prosecutors in the state, including our office, were already working to address the unintended consequences of the 'three strikes' law,'" said San Diego County District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis. "Now that Prop. 36 has passed, the work we have already done to review these cases should make the process of assessing the petitions go more smoothly."

Justin Brooks, with the California Innocence Project, told 10News, "No violent offenses; it's basically a guy who had a drug addiction and committed a lot of property crimes and got sentenced to prison for the rest of his life."

Brooks has been working on Corley's case for nearly two years. He has lined up a job for Corley and even arranged for him to live in a local halfway house.

Deputy District Attorney Laura Tanney said crime rates went down because of the three strikes law, but she told 10News, "I have definite concerns that the crime rate may in fact go up … We will do everything we can to insure that the appropriate people are released and the people who do represent a danger stay inside."

Prosecutors, defense attorneys and San Diego Superior Court officials are preparing for 200 to 300 requests from state inmates seeking reductions in their prison sentences.

A judge will need to determine if the offender poses an unreasonable risk to public safety before permitting a re-sentencing.

The original "three strikes" law passed in 1994 called for a 25-year-to-life sentence for any felony conviction if the defendant had two previous convictions for violent or serious offenses.

Proposition 36 modified the law to require a sentence of 25 years to life only if the third strike was a serious or violent felony, or upon a conviction for another qualifying factor, such as use of a deadly weapon or intent to inflict injury.

It is retroactive to the extent that it allows certain inmates whose third strikes were nonviolent, non-serious felonies and are serving life terms to seek a new sentencing hearing.

Defendants who are registered sex offenders, or had any convictions for rape or child molestation, or another significant prior conviction, will still be subject to 25-years-to-life sentences.

Under the three strikes law, 8,800 prisoners have been sentenced to life in prison, and 3,000 of them are eligible for release under Prop. 36.
 

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