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10 Years or Life

  1. The Louisiana Law being discussed is the three strikes law called the habitual offender statute. It was applied to Prince Conrad for being charged with drug charges multiple times.

It was applied under the following circumstances: distribution of Marijuana, possession of heroin, possession of marijuana two consecutive times and during a routine traffic stop he was found with marijuana and heroin charges and finally the three strikes law got him. The prosecutor used the habitual offenders statute was used often times and unnecessarily for minor offences. It was applied by Chief Prosecutor, Leon Cannizzaro.

  1. The case found itself at the center of public opinion when people discovered that his office had been sending fake subpoenas to witnesses and even jailed those witnesses who did not cooperate. New Orleans people were so mad and gathered to protests these extreme actions.
  2. The crime control model best represents this case. This is because first, the crime control model is based on the repression of criminal conduct being the most important function of the criminal process. This is seen by the number of prosecutions seen in New Orleans of people prosecuted by the three strikes law when they could have gotten different help. For this model to operate successfully, it must produce high apprehension rates and conviction. In the case, this is seen in the words of Prince himself when he talks about meeting convicts in prison with similar charges and stories as himself and all from New Orleans. Biggy also talks of the same story of seeing more convicted people while serving his prison sentence. Biggy believes that these convictions were unnecessary and race biased.10 Years or Life

This model works with a premium on speed and finality. Speed depends on informality and in the case it is seen with the fake subpoenas and mistreatment of witnesses to work with the prosecution by force. Finality depends on minimizing conditions for challenge and in the case, this happens by the prosecutor choosing the three strikes law most of the time thus limiting judges in the decisions and sentences they give.

The model also works on stereotyped, managerial and administrative terms as seen in the explanation of the junior prosecutor that once worked for Leon. He explains that the first thing they did as a rule was look up an offender’s criminal record. At the time, for the people working for the prosecutor’s office, they followed what the chief said and it was more of him being the final say. The system works on the presumption of guilt and thus the high prosecution rates.

  1. The most important question was why people choose the 10 years when they could easily go to trial and get lighter sentences. The podcast answered this by saying that these people fill fixed and it is a form of coercion as these people feel that they are not getting a fair trial and feel that taking the ten years is easier than risking a life sentence.10 Years or Life