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LA Judge Tasked With Reviewing Three-Strikes Law Cases

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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — A Los Angeles Superior Court judge has started the process of reviewing cases of California inmates who are serving time under the three-strikes law.

Last November, voters passed Proposition 36, which eased the state’s three-strikes law and allowed certain criminals to have their time behind bars reduced if their third conviction was not serious or violent and the judge determined they wouldn’t pose a threat to public safety.

Judge William C. Ryan, who was tasked with examining each convict’s request for a shorter sentence, said he’s received more than 1,000 petitions in less than four months.

“They’ve come in like a hurricane. We’ve gotten stacks and stacks of them, almost every day,” said Ryan. “Eventually, all of these cases will come across my desk.”

CBS2’s Bobby Kaple sat with Judge Ryan as he looked over the case of a man who was sentenced to 35 years to life in 2005.

“I’m looking at what’s the nature of the crime they’re in on, what are their strikes like, and how have they behaved in prison,” said Ryan.

The man’s third felony conviction, however, was for second-degree robbery.

“He doesn’t qualify (for a reduced sentence), so that’s a denial, and that is what I have just done. I’ve denied his petition. He’s ineligible under the law,” said Ryan.

In other cases, Ryan has granted sentence reductions.

“We’ve only granted relief in seven cases so far, in which we’ve ordered the inmates released. The District Attorney has not opposed that,” he said.

Ryan said it will take up to a year to process the current cases he has before him.

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