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Ewing v. United States

538 U.S. 11 (2003)

tl;dr: A three strikes law mandating a minimum sentence that is grossly disproportionate to the crime that triggers the sentence does not violate due process.

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The case of Ewing v. California dealt with the constitutionality of California's "Three Strikes and You're Out" law, which imposes longer prison sentences on repeat offenders who have committed serious and/or violent felony offenses. The Supreme Court upheld the law, stating that enhanced sentences for repeat offenders serve the legitimate goal of deterring and incapacitating them. The Eighth Amendment's proportionality principle applies to noncapital sentences, but it did not violate the Eighth Amendment to sentence a three-time offender to life in prison with the possibility of parole. The Court has upheld mandatory life sentences for repeat offenders in previous cases, but in Solem v. Helm, the Court held that the Eighth Amendment prohibits disproportionate sentences and identified three factors to determine whether a sentence is so disproportionate that it violates the Eighth Amendment. It is important to note that Justice Stevens and the three other dissenting justices believed that the lower court had erred in its decision.

The passage discusses the case of Ewing and how his sentence is disproportionate to his offense, even considering his recidivism. The focus should be on the specific offense that triggers the sentence, and the distinction between felonies and misdemeanors is not consistent. The petitioner argues that they were only charged with shoplifting, but the prosecutor has the discretion to charge them with grand larceny, and the amicus curiae suggests that a sentence of life without parole for 25 years is not permissible for shoplifting, which the respondent challenges.

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Facts & Holding

Facts:The defendant was charged with grand larceny for stealing three...

Holding:The Court upheld the law and the sentence. The legislature...

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Ewing v. United States

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