Pubdate: Mon, 17 Mar 1999
Source: Tampa Tribune (FL)
Copyright: 1999, The Tribune Co.
Author: John G. Chase


Your editorial ``A get-tough law that makes sense'' (March 8) endorses
the bill proposed by Victor Crist and Tom Lee titled ``Three- Strike
Violent Felony Offender Act.'' I have two questions with this proposed

First, our crime rate has been dropping rapidly, so why not let it
continue to drop on its own?

Second, how can marijuana trafficking be a violent crime when its only
violence is associated with its illegality? You know, the turf battles
and the violence of stings, snitches and arrests.

Incarceration is easy as long as we can pay for it. The tough part is
deciding where to stop. California overdid it so that about half of
its ``third strike felons'' are nonviolent. Crist and Lee have learned
from the California experience, but their proposed law is still not
good enough and may cause more problems than it fixes.

We should shelve this proposal for a few years to see where Florida's
crime rate settles and how court challenges to these laws in other
states play out.

John G. Chase, 
Palm Harbor, Fl
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MAP posted-by: Derek Rea