Double Jeopardy and Three Strikes

I don’t favor recreational arson and illegal gun possession, but I’m happy with this ruling:

Defense attorneys argued successfully that state Supreme Court rulings dictated that Charles’ 1983 arson and attempted murder convictions could be counted only as one strike, as they stemmed from the same attack. Prosecutors contended that the crimes were separate because Charles had committed arson to destroy evidence that he had drugged his son before setting fire to him.

The man lit his child on fire, and prosecutors charged him with arson and attempted murder. Same thing, but the single action led to two felony counts. This incident occurred 1983. If he tried that today, he’d also get felony counts of using fire in commission of a crime, leaving the scene of a crime he’d committed, possession of arson accellerants, felony child abuse, felony child endangerment, and possibly smoking during the commission of a felony. Needless to say, he’d fall not only under three strikes laws, but also striking out the side which probably demand summary execution.

This ruling would indicate that pissed-off prosecutors won’t get automatic life sentences for the criminal whom they convict if only the prosecutors can find or stretch three felony counts to blanket a single crime.

Because you never know when blogging against law enforcement to incite changes in criminal laws , blogging across interstate lines, and excessive use of italics in blog posts might criminalized, and by a single act that doesn’t neccesarily involve violence or wrongdoing, you might be eligible for life in prison.

(Submitted as an entry to Outside the Beltway’s Beltway Traffic Jam, if only the trackback thing would work.)