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June 18, 2018

Note: Justice Talking's grant funding expired in 2008 and the project has been closed. This website is an archive of the entire run of Justice Talking shows through June 30, 2008.
It is no longer being maintained. We apologize for any stale or broken links.
Featured Program

Three Strikes and You Are Out
Last Featured: 4/13/2000

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Note: Justice Talking ceased production on June 30 of 2008. Link information on this site is not maintained and is provided for historical interest only. Although correct when posted, The Annenberg Public Policy Center makes no claim as the the accuracy or continued availability of any third party web links found on this site.

One of the most controversial anti-crime measures to emerge in recent years are ``Three Strikes and You`re Out`` laws, which enhance prison sentences for repeat offenders. Although enacted in twenty-four states and by the federal government, the nation`s strictest three strikes law comes from California, where voters passed a widely supported ballot measure five years ago. That tough-on-crime legislation has been removing felons from the streets in record numbers. But critics say, although the law was designed to target hardcore criminals, it`s also giving life sentences to many nonviolent offenders.

Al Johnson has served as the Deputy Public Defender for Los Angeles County since 1988 where he has handled in excess of 20,000 criminal cases, including serious felonies and three strikes cases. He is the former coordinator of the Orange County chapter of Families to Amend California's Three Strikes Law which has sought legislative revision of the statute. Mr. Johnson received his B.A. from California State University, Fullerton and his J.D. from Western State University College of Law.

Gregg McClain has served as Deputy District Attorney for the County of San Diego since 1985. He currently serves as Assistant Chief to the Superior Court Division, which prosecutes the majority of the felony trials including murder, sexual assaults, drug and property crimes. Prior to this assignment, Mr. McClain was the team leader of the Superior Court Division of the Three Strikes team, created to prosecute the third strike cases. He is also an instructor for the California District Attorneys Association's sexual assault seminars and for the National Institute of Trial Advocay. He is a graduate of the University of Southern California and the University of San Diego School of Law.

Closing Quote
"Much law is inherited and is therefore found, as Judge Hand used to say, 'in these books about us.' But the books.. like the Constitution itself, must be read with understanding of the changes in the human condition. The law, even as it honors the past, must reach for justice of a kind not measured by force, by the pressures of interest groups, nor even by votes, but only by what reason and a sense of justice say is right."

— Watergate special prosecutor Archibald Cox

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Join the Debate
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Special Announcements
Justice Talking’s last broadcast & podcast was June 30, 2008.
Families to Amend California's Three Strikes Law
Justice Policy Institute
United States Department of Justice
Families Against Mandatory Minimums
Speakout.com: Three Strike Laws
The California Three Strikes Statute
Lungren, Three Cheers for Three Strikes: California enjoys a record drop in crime, Policy Review, November-December 1996, Number 80.
ACLU Library: Ten Reasons To Oppose
Males, Macallair and Khaled Taqi-Eddin, Striking Out: The Failure of CaliforniaÇs
Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Report on Three Strikes and You're Out.
Rand Institute, Are Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences Cost Effective?
Three Strikes and You`re Out : A Promise to Kimber : The Chronicle of America`s Toughest Anti-Crime Law
by Mike Reynolds, Bill Jones, and Dan Evans
Three Strikes and You`re Out : Estimated Benefits and Costs of California`s Mandatory-Sentencing Law
by Peter W. Greenwood
Three Strikes and You`re Out : Vengeance As Public Policy
by David Shichor (Editor) and Dale K. Sechrest
The Right to a Jury Trial
Bail Bondsmen, Bounty Hunters and Private Prisons
Innovations in Policing