The fatal flaw of “Three Strikes”
When National passed its “three strikes” legislation in 2010, they promised that it would not be like California’s, and target shoplifters, drug dealers, and other petty criminals. Instead, it would be used on “the worst of the worst.” Throughout the debates (which are linked to from here), they repeatedly referred to “the worst murderers”, the “worst serious violent offenders” and the “worst” sexual offenders. So who are actually they using it on? Dumbarse muggers … like Elijah Akeem Whaanga, 21, [on] his second strike; Judge Tony Adeane told the Hastings man his two “street muggings” that netted “trophies of minimal value” meant his outlook was now “bleak in the extreme.” “When you next steal a hat or a cellphone or a jacket or a skateboard you will be sent to the High Court and there you will be sentenced to 14 years’ imprisonment without parole,” Judge Adeane said.
“If our legal system thinks that this dumbarse is among ‘the worst of the worst,’” says Idiot/Savant, “or that his crimes merit 14 years imprisonment without parole, then it is fundamentally disproportionate and unjust… [violating] the Bill of Rights Act’s affirmation of freedom from disproportionately severe treatment or punishment.”
In response to this tirade of opposition objecting to the dumbarse’s bleak future under the three-strikes regime, defenders of the law look forward to this predator being caged, saying
this is precisely the kind of person the three strikes law is supposed to protect us from. This young man has terrorised multiple victims on multiple occasions. He has already received jail-time and a first strike. He is clearly not going to stop…
The entire point of the three-strikes legislation is completely ignored by most commentators. The purpose of the legislation is not to bring justice, punish or even deter the criminal. The entire purpose is to protect the public from predatory wolves. After the third act of violence, we can be sure that Mr Whaanga will continue to be a dangerous predator, barring some sort of miracle.
Neither the opponents nor the defenders of Three Strikes seem however to have spotted what can only be described as a fatal flaw of the legislation, which I pointed out when it was introduced: that rather than protecting the public it offers the offender a clear inducement to savagery. Because if this violent dickhead now stands to get 14 years’ imprisonment without parole for stealing “a hat or a cellphone or a jacket or a skateboard,” then why wouldn’t he murder for them? Or rape? Or terrorise?
Why wouldn’t he, when the sentence for these crimes these days is virtually the same (for someone with his obviously low time-preference) as the one with which he’s been threatened?
The three strikes law has a fatal flaw. But it will I fear be some innocent victim who experiences the fatality.