California Judges Can Refuse to Reduce Sentence for Three-Strikers, State Supreme Court Rules

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A prison cell is seen in this file photo from Getty Images iStock.

California judges have wide discretion to refuse to reduce sentences for “three-strike” prisoners, the state’s highest court decided Monday.

In a 4-3 decision, the California Supreme Court gave judges broad authority to decline to trim sentences for inmates who qualify for reductions under a 2012 ballot measure intended to reform the state’s tough three-strikes sentencing law.

Justice Leondra R. Kruger, an appointee of Gov. Jerry Brown, joined the more conservative justices to reach the result.

The decision aimed to resolve questions posed by two ballot measures in recent years to reduce the population of the state’s overburdened prison system.

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