SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A 48-year-old man serving a life sentence was released Monday over the objections of prosecutors under a new law that gives judges more leeway in the three-strikes law.
Robert Rudy Lozano, whose attorneys say he is in poor health, was ordered released by Orange County Superior Court Judge Robert Fitzgerald, who reversed his Feb. 7 ruling denying a request to free Lozano from Pleasant Valley State Prison, according to Farrah Emami of the Orange County District Attorney’s Office.
Voters approved Proposition 36 in November, which allowed judges more latitude when reviewing the cases of defendants in prison for life under the three-strikes law.
Deputy District Attorney Lynda Fernandez was opposed to Lozano’s release, arguing that he was convicted of voluntary manslaughter, has a lengthy criminal record and remains a risk to society.
After Fitzgerald’s denial of Lozano’s release in February, Lozano wrote a letter to the judge saying he had rehabilitated himself from his drug addictions, but tested positive for morphine two weeks later, Emami said.
Lozano’s criminal history dates back to November 1984. Lozano’s first strike was a conviction in June 1985 of felony manslaughter for beating a man to death with a baseball bat during an argument. Since then, he has been in and out of prison for various offenses, including drug use, forgery, burglary, receiving stolen property and violating parole.
Lozano’s second strike was in November 1992 when he was convicted of first-degree burglary and second-degree robbery. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison and paroled in March 1998. Lozano was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison in May of 1999 for stealing a vehicle while out on parole – his third strike.
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