Community, Diversity, Sustainability and other Overused Words

Man Gets 47 Years in Jail for Shoplifting on Third Strike Case

Defendant fought store security officers at a time when he was on parole.

Today a shoplifter in Palmdale was sentenced to 47 years to life in state prison. The reason for the long sentence? It was his third strike.

On March 5, 2014, the defendant, Geoffrey Scott Bueno aka Spanky, 42, shoplifted various items from a home improvement store in Palmdale. When store security sought to detain him, he kicked and wrestled with the officers. Later it was found he had methamphetamine in his possession. In addition, Bueno was on parole at the time.

Bueno's first conviction was in 1993 for manslaughter. He'd been charged with being the driver in a gang-related shooting. In 2009, Bueno received his second conviction for second-degree robbery. In this case, the offense was also shoplifting and he also fought store security officers. It was for this conviction he was on parole at the time of his third offense, the shoplifting in Palmdale.

In the present case, Bueno was charged with two felony counts of second-degree robbery, committing assault with great bodily injury, and one misdemeanor count of possession of methamphetamine.

California passed its own in 1994, when their voters passed Proposition 184 by an overwhelming majority, with 72% in favor and 28% against. The initiative proposed to the voters had the title of Three Strikes and You're Out, referring to de facto life imprisonment after being convicted of three violent or serious felonies which are listed under California Penal Code section 1192.7

In the United States, habitual offender laws (commonly referred to as three-strikes laws) are statutes enacted by state governments which mandate courts to impose harsher sentences on those convicted of an offense if they have been previously convicted of two prior serious criminal offenses. They are designed to incapacitate those more likely to commit crime.

Twenty-four states have some form of "three-strikes" law. A person accused under such laws is referred to in a few states (notably Connecticut and Kansas) as a "persistent offender", while Missouri uses the unique term "prior and persistent offender". In most jurisdictions, only crimes at the felony level qualify as serious offenses; however, misdemeanor offenses can qualify for application of the three-strikes law in California, whose application has been the subject of controversy.

The popular name of these laws, three-strikes laws, comes from baseball, where a batter is permitted two strikes before striking out on the third.

The three-strikes law significantly increases the prison sentences of persons convicted of a felony who have been previously convicted of two or more violent crimes or serious felonies, and limits the ability of these offenders to receive a punishment other than a life sentence.


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