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Felony enhancement laws Options
Amarillide
Posted: Saturday, June 20, 2020 4:05:18 AM
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Joined: 2/13/2020
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Hi there!
I am reading an interview and I am not that able to figure out what a "felony enhancement law"is.
Is it a law that makes the penalty higher for a certain crime?

Here is the context:

"Out of that came the first professionalization movement on a national scale. State by state, state legislators passed laws empowering crime commissions that would systematically study what were the loopholes in the law that would not allow them to prosecute people they call modern gangsters and modern bandits. They passed a series of felony enhancement laws. They gave police more power. They begin to equip them with various instruments, like automobiles, for example."

I would appreciate if someone could explain it to me, and if there are, in the English language, other ways to refer to it.

Thank you in advance!
Amarillide
taurine
Posted: Saturday, June 20, 2020 10:39:21 AM

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Location: South Dublin, Ireland
The word 'felony' is an old one. It may be easier to understand it, if you would like to have a closer look at the old legal acts.

In 1323 during the 17th session of Edward II, the King decided that pardon for homicide or felony was not to be made without the King’s special mandate.

The Stamp Duties Management Act of 1891 was amended in 1999 year by the Finance Act (Irish) as to its section 13, whereby the word ‘felony’ understood as an offence, if the person charged with the offence were to be found guilty, resulted in conviction in penal servitude for any term not exceeding fourteen years, or with modification, that is, with or without hard labour for any term not exceeding two years”. [It related to the revenue offences.]
The penal servitude seems to be not existing anymore, of course. Nevertheless, it may be possible to find a suitable substitution for it in the modern times.
Amarillide
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2020 3:14:24 AM
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Joined: 2/13/2020
Posts: 110
Neurons: 726
Hello Taurine,
thank you for your reply and for the historical excursus of which (of course) I was not aware.

But I am sorry, I still cannot figure out what the specific expression "to pass a series of felony enhancement laws", in the context I gave in my post.

How would you explain the meaninig of thit expression to a person that's uninitiated to the legal field? Does Felony enancement mean "to make a penalty more severe"?


Or maybe your post explains it and I simply did not get it... Sorry, I am not a mother tongue, as you may have understood.

Thank you in advance for bearing with me!
Amarillide


Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Sunday, June 21, 2020 8:27:49 AM

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Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 34,223
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Hi Amarillide.

This seems to be a purely USA thing - unless similar laws have a different name in other countries.

There appear to be two or three types, and they are different in different states.

Firearms Sentencing Enhancement - the same crime/felony can have two different punishments, depending on whether or not anyone involved was carrying a gun. The sentence can be made much longer.
There is a thing in the UK with a similar effect, but it's "worded" differently. Here, the crimes are considered as totally different. "Assault" can be anything from getting hold of someone's arm to push them out of the door, to punching someone in the face . . . - but "Assault with a Deadly Weapon" is a totally different crime. It's not considered "the same crime with an anhanced sentence", but the effect is similar.

Prior Felonies Sentencing Enhancement - This adds extra years to the sentence for the current serious crime for each previous one. So if you've already been in jail for a serious Felony, and you are found guilty again, you get the sentence for the second one PLUS an extra five years sentence for the earlier one.

Felony Enhancement - I think that this is what the "Three Strikes" law comes under.
If you have two previous "small crimes" or "misdemeanour" convictions, if you are arrested and charged a third time, the crime you are tried for is "enhanced" - it's no longer considered a misdemeanour, it's now a felony. This means that the punishment can be a lot bigger.

This last seems to be the one which is protested the most.
A twenty-year-old, arrested for drinking alcohol at a party would receive a minor punishment - OK, I don't agree with the law, but that's the law.
If the same twenty-year-old then did something else (say, got in a fight at college) was arrested and charged again - it would be a second misdemeanour (minor crime).
If they were then arrested a third time - again for drinking a beer at a party - it could (if the police/prosecutor/judge don't like him) be "enhanced" from a misdemeanour to a felony - and a felony can have up to 25 years in jail or "life" if the judge wants to do that.

This is also the one which helps the police with "The Mob" and "Gangsters".
If the police had someone they wanted to prosecute (who they "knew" was a gangster, but he kept wiggling out of it due to "loopholes" and a good lawyer) they could arrest him three times for easily-provable misdemeanours - then insist on the full "felony" prison-sentence for the third one.
Amarillide
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2020 3:50:13 AM
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Joined: 2/13/2020
Posts: 110
Neurons: 726
Wow, DragOnspeaker,
that's absolutely fantastic!

I was trying to understand a phrase and now I feel like I have a better grip on a topic I am fairly unfamiliar with.
Dancing Dancing Dancing
 
And this brought me to the hated Crime Bill of 1994 which I've bumped into different times in these days (yeah... I definitely became obsessed by American surreal situation). But I was wondering, do these laws (for example the Three Stikes one) are still in place? 

Thank you so much again!
Ama
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Monday, June 22, 2020 7:27:17 AM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
Posts: 34,223
Neurons: 225,152
Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
I'm not in America, so I can only go from what I read, but I believe so.

As I said, they are very different in different states. Felony Enhancement (making a third misdemeanour count as a felony) seems to be a pretty extreme example.
Another one is after two previous violent crime convictions, a third gets the sentence doubled. That one sounds not so bad - keeps a regularly violent person in jail for a long time.

There is a federal one, too (you do know that there are two completely separate law systems in each state, don't you?).
findlaw.com wrote:
Under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, the "Three Strikes" statute provides for mandatory life imprisonment if a convicted felon: (1) has been convicted in federal court of a "serious violent felony"; and (2) has two or more previous convictions in federal or state courts, at least one of which is a serious violent felony (the other offense may be a serious drug offense).


The original California one seems to be the most famous - as it was "two felonies plus ANY other conviction" meant life in prison - so a teenager could be involved with a couple of crimes and serve the sentences. Then reform totally and live innocently for fifteen years, then do something silly - one misdemeanour - and end up in jail for life. Examples
This was changed a few years ago - but anyone in jail for life before that change doesn't get out by the new law - they are in jail for life.
Amarillide
Posted: Wednesday, June 24, 2020 12:39:16 AM
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Joined: 2/13/2020
Posts: 110
Neurons: 726
Drag0nspeaker, I  loved the Rolling Stones article.

How the hell is that possible? (I mean, that's a usual question I scream every time I look at things in the world and it feels like too many places are ruled by incompetent ignorant kids who didn't do their homework...). 

That's the tastiest bit:
“The hypertechnical legal term,” says Romano, “is the ‘You’ve gotta be kidding me’ motion.” As in, 25 years to life for stealing a pair of socks? You’ve gotta be kidding me. Life for stealing baby shoes? You’ve gotta be kidding me.

And then it names Soros as a donor of the program that wanted at least to make the third crime a serious one. I can't help it, nowadays every time I read George Soros's name I feel that, taking that bit of information as a starting point, somewhere in the world someone is creating a blatant hoax who relates it to some evil plans. And I can not make up my mind if I have to laugh either to cry. World, gimmie a break.

Thank you so much, I really enjoyed... "the consequences" of my question!

Ama
Epiphileon
Posted: Thursday, July 2, 2020 11:20:04 AM

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Joined: 3/22/2009
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Hi Amarillide, I'm sorry I'm not going to get into any of the particulars of the draconian and biased U.S. justice system I just wanted to say that a major factor to understanding it is that the prison system in the U.S. is largely run by for-profit enterprises.
Amarillide
Posted: Friday, July 3, 2020 1:16:58 AM
Rank: Member

Joined: 2/13/2020
Posts: 110
Neurons: 726
Epiphileon wrote:
Hi Amarillide, I'm sorry I'm not going to get into any of the particulars of the draconian and biased U.S. justice system I just wanted to say that a major factor to understanding it is that the prison system in the U.S. is largely run by for-profit enterprises.


Hello Epiphileon,
this is absolutely a good point to point at. I think they have called it "slavery by another name."

Thank you!
Ama
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