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three strikes, you're out

n. recent (beginning 1994) legislation enacted in several states (and proposed in many others, as well as possible federal law) which makes life terms (or extremely long terms without parole) mandatory for criminals who have been convicted of a third felony (as in California) or of three felonies involving violence, rape, use of a deadly weapon or molestation. The impetus for "three strikes, you're out" has come from public outrage over murders, assaults, rapes and child molestations by released ex-convicts with records of repeated violent crimes. Concern has been expressed about the provisions in some of the bills which prohibit plea bargaining of any charged felony down to a misdemeanor, deny any judicial discretion in sentencing and do not distinguish between violent felonies and cases of non-violent crimes which involve small amounts of money.

The People's Law Dictionary by Gerald and Kathleen Hill Publisher Fine Communications