New laws lead some Washington prosecutors to rethink three-strike life sentences

Nearly three decades after Washington voters made their state the first to enact a three-strikes law, imposing life imprisonment for repeated, serious offenses, some prosecutors have found ways to avoid the law's effects that are seen as unduly harsh or racially biased. Some have interpreted a law authorizing resentencing to apply to three-strikes cases. Others have pushed the governor to grant clemency more often. This new willingness to question the law's effects is not universal among prosecutors, and the state Supreme Court soon will weigh in on the issue.

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