State senator wants to change 'three strikes' law

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by DREW MIKKELSEN / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @Drewmikk

KING5.com

Posted on January 17, 2011 at 4:01 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 17 at 7:40 PM

OLYMPIA, Wash. - Fewer offenders would face life sentences under the state's so-called 'Three strikes and you're out' law, under legislation sponsored by Sen. Adam Kline, D-Seattle.

"There are people caught up in the net that don't belong," said Kline.

Under the current law, offenders convicted of three felonies must be given life sentences without the opportunity for parole. Under Sen. Kline's proposal, those convicted of Class B felonies could receive shorter sentences.

Class B felonies include assault and robbery in the second degree, typically crimes committed without weapons or serious injury.

Kline wants offenders with three of those convictions to face a sentence between 15 years to life.

Kline said if an offender is convicted of sexual crimes, or the most serious felonies, like murder and rape, they would still receive life sentences after a third conviction.

Kline estimates about 16 of the 316 offenders serving life sentences under the law could have their life sentences shortened if his bill passes.

Stevan Dozier is the only so-called 'three-striker' to be granted clemency by Gov. Chris Gregoire.

Dozier was released from prison in 2009 after serving 15 years for three robbery in the second degree crimes. His crime was stealing purses.

Dozier told KING 5 he will testify in favor of Sen. Kline's bill when it has a hearing at the Capitol Wednesday.

“There are some people behind bars who have worked, like I did, to turn their lives around," said Dozier.

Dozier said he would like the 'Three strikes' law completely removed from the books.

State Senator Mike Carrell, R-Lakewood, told KING 5 News he would oppose the bill

“These are very, very bad people,” he said.

Carrell said he does not like changing laws that were put into law through voter-approved initiatives.

‘Three Strikes’ was approved by voters in 1993.

“This is something the public told us to do,” said Carrell.

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