Mandatory Life Terms For 3-Strike Offenders Upheld

1980

In Rummel v. Estelle, the U.S. Supreme Court upholds a Texas statute imposing a mandatory life sentence for any person convicted of three felonies within a 15-year period. Even though the offender in Rummel was only convicted of stealing $250, the Court says it is a state’s right to impose harsher sentences on repeat offenders. The Court also notes that the severity of the life sentence is lessened by Texas’ practice of granting “good time” credits that allow prisoners who maintain clean records to win early release.