In 2004, Federal District Court Judge Spencer Letts reversed the verdict
for a man who was given a mandatory 25-year prison sentence because of
the California "three-strikes" law. The accused, M.B., was convicted
of his first felony in 1988, after he got in a car accident then stole
money from the other driver. A few years later, he was under the influence
of drugs and had a fight with his girlfriend, who called the police. In
this case, he pleaded no contest to assault, making that his second strike.
The last strike was brought on by M.B.'s purchase of less than a gram
of crack cocaine, for which he was convicted of drug possession.
Under the California
Three Strikes Law, M.B. was required to spend 25 years in prison, after which his release
would be approved by a parole board. M.B. tried numerous times to appeal
to the court for leniency, but to no avail. In 2002, Justice Letts was
assigned to give M.B. his final sentence appeal. Fortunately for M.B.,
Letts viewed him as someone in need of help with his substance abuse,
rather than a criminal. After thoroughly researching M.B.'s case for
2 and a half years, Judge Letts ruled that his sentence was not proportionate
to his crime. Letts concluded that his past convictions had not been proportionate
to felonies for the Three Strikes Law purposes and that in his second
strike ruling, there had actually been a mistake. The court had recorded
it as assault with a gun, but he had actually pleaded no contest to simple assault.
After M.B. was freed, he not only became good friends with Judge Letts,
but also received his GED. He is currently a volunteer at the
Los Angeles Dream Center, helping others overcome substance abuse. According to the
Huffington Post, Judge Letts stated that M.B. was proof that people had the same basic
goodness, if given the chance. If you have been charged with a
drug crime, then turn to a tough Orange County criminal defense lawyer at the
Law Offices of Jacqueline Goodman who can give you the defense you deserve.
Contact us for an appointment as soon as possible!