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First Inmate Released Under Revised Three-Strikes Law Is San Diegan

Change to Three Strikes Law
First Inmate Released Under Revised 3-Strikes Law Is San Diegan
GUEST:Justin Brooks, Corley's attorney, and professor at the California Western School of Law

The first re-sentencing and imminent release of a three-strikes prisoner since the passage of Proposition 36 involves a San Diego man. His release was managed with the combined effort of District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis' office and the Institute for Defense Advocacy at the California Western School of Law.

Kenneth Glenn Corley, 62, was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison under California's "three strikes'' law in 1996 was re-sentenced last week, to about 15 years, and released based on credit for time served. He is the first person to be re-sentenced under Prop 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 last week 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.''

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.