It’s Time For A Three-strikes Law

Rick Hamada
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Wednesday - February 15, 2006

I am as sick and tired of revolving door justice for dangerous criminals as much as the next guy.

Unless, that is, the next guy is Matthew Taufetee. He is an associate pastor who heads up a Palolo faith-based program which helps inmates transition back into the community. It just so happens he is a convict who has changed his ways and is against the proposed “Three Violent Strikes Law” that is making its way through TheBigSquareBuliding.

State Attorney General Mark Bennett and Honolulu City and County Prosecutor Peter Carlisle are spearheading the effort to get the Three Violent Strikes Law (3VX) passed.

As Bennett explains it, “We’re proposing individuals convicted on three separate occasions of three separate crimes that they serve 30 years.”

According to what he told KHON-TV, “violent” crimes are defined as murder, manslaughter, kidnapping, first-degree assault, robbery, burglary and sex assault. Bennett and Carlisle’s proposal seems reasonable and, in my humble opinion, ideally could even be stronger. I know that’s not realistic since a previous “Three Strikes” proposal was rejected as being too harsh.

Why would anybody be opposed to “3VX”?

And if you are against it, is it fair to say you are pro-criminal?

I’m not too sure about that, but you are part of the serious problem of allowing violent criminals roaming the streets. You are no better than the enabler who clears the path for drug addicts to continue getting their fix - like the parents recently caught smuggling ice into prison for their son’s use. Your opposition to such initiatives helps the criminal while hindering prosecution.

Which brings us back to Matthew Taufetee. In stating his opposition, Taufetee, who claims an 80 percent success rate in reforming convicts, says, “We just make these guys feel like they’re loved, they’re important, help them build self-esteem, which I believe is the root cause of them going out and committing their criminal activities.”

Really? Self-esteem is the root?

Or maybe there’s a basic lack of respect of people and their property?

Let’s also include a violent offender belief system where laws don’t apply to them. How about a corrupted moral character that allows the repetition of violent crimes without compunction? Lest we forget, consider the insatiable need of fuel (money) to obtain crystal meth at any cost, even if it means killing someone.

This is the “root cause of them going out and committing their criminal activities”.

The icing on the cake was the KHON report in which Taufetee says 30 years is too long for a felon with potential to change. This from the same felon who has been convicted not once, not twice, but three times of a violent felony. Exactly how many lives must this criminal brutalize before enough is enough? I guess, with this logic, that four rapes are no worse than one. Tell it to the victims.

With all due respect, I understand Mr. Taufetee and others who oppose “3VX” believe they are right. And that’s fine. But, I think they’re wrong. Their position is fundamentally flawed. Opponents believe the convicted should be considered first while I believe the victims rights and considerations should be considered first. I never hear the victim’s words or experiences invoked by opponents in any debate or discussion.

AG Bennett said it best when commenting on the minimum 30 year sentence: “We need to be worried more about the next victim than whether you’re going to turn over another new leaf.”

Couldn’t have said it better myself.

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