The Legislature is being asked to change the state’s habitual criminal law. Right now, it’s an automatic ten year sentence for anyone convicted of a third felony.
Omaha Senator Tony Vargas wants to limit the category saying “I think LB-959 is a common sense approach to limiting the habitual criminal law to apply only to serious and violent felony crimes.” Vargas added that the extra punishment is used too often now, “the ten year sentence is a mandatory minimum, meaning they will not be able to be paroled on that sentence or released early.”
Vargas wants to limit the designation of “habitual criminal” to people convicted of a third VIOLENT felony.
Cory O’Brien of the Nebraska Attorney General’s office opposed the measure, saying sometimes violent criminals plead guilty to lesser, non-violent felonies. “We cannot take the risk of trying to reduce our prison population through people that have shown they cannot be rehabilitated and are demonstrated threats to the public.”
O’Brien used the example of notorious gangster Al Capone, who ordered numerous murders but was convicted of income tax evasion.
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