Criminal Justice

Three Strikes May Be Out in California

Law meant to snare the worst of the worst has been scooping up nonviolent offenders


On June 29, 1992, 18-year-old Kimber Reynolds was leaving a Fresno restaurant with some friends when two men on a stolen motorcycle sped up and tried to snatch her purse. When Reynolds resisted, one of the men pulled a .357 Magnum out of his waistband, stuck it in the girl's ear and pulled the trigger. She died 26 hours later. …

In his grief over Kimber's death, her father Mike Reynolds both wrote and campaigned for California's "three-strikes" law, which voters approved in 1994 to protect the public from habitual offenders such as Joe Davis. Under the law, offenders who commit three felonies are automatically sentenced to 25-years-to-life in prison. The second and third felonies do not have to be violent or serious, as long as the first offense was.