Tommy Lee Farmer is a convicted American criminal who was the first person in the United States convicted under the Federal three-strikes law.
A native of Sioux City, Iowa, Farmer was the son of a minister and the brother of a college professor. In 1971 he was convicted of second degree murder in the killing of a veterinarian in Sioux City.After having spent most of his adult life in prison, Farmer was paroled and then subsequently arrested for a botched attempt to rob a convenience store in Eastern Iowa. In 1995, he became the first person in the United States to be sentenced under the Three-Strikes Law and received a life sentence. President Bill Clinton considered the Farmer sentencing to be such a landmark decision that he interrupted his vacation to make a press statement.
Disfranchisement, much more commonly called disenfranchisement, or voter disqualification is the revocation of suffrage of a person or group of people, or a practice that has the effect of preventing a person exercising the right to vote. Disfranchisement can also refer to the revocation of power or control of a particular individual, community or being to the natural amenity they are abound in; that is to deprive of a franchise, of a legal right, of some privilege or inherent immunity. Disfranchisement may be accomplished explicitly by law or implicitly through requirements applied in a discriminatory fashion, through intimidation, or by placing unreasonable requirements on voters for registration or voting.
Life imprisonment is any sentence of imprisonment for a crime under which convicted persons are to remain in prison either for the rest of their natural life or until pardoned, paroled or otherwise commuted to a fixed term. Crimes for which, in some countries, a person could receive this sentence include murder, attempted murder, conspiracy to commit murder, blasphemy, apostasy, terrorism, severe child abuse, rape, child rape, espionage, treason, high treason, drug dealing, drug trafficking, drug possession, human trafficking, severe cases of fraud, severe cases of financial crimes, aggravated criminal damage in English law, and aggravated cases of arson, kidnapping, burglary, or robbery which result in death or grievous bodily harm, piracy, aircraft hijacking, and in certain cases genocide, ethnic cleansing, crimes against humanity, certain war crimes or any three felonies in case of three-strikes law. Life imprisonment can also be imposed, in certain countries, for traffic offenses causing death. The life sentence does not exist in all countries: Portugal was the first to abolish life imprisonment, in 1884.
Parole is the early release of a prisoner who agrees to abide by certain conditions, originating from the French word parole. The term became associated during the Middle Ages with the release of prisoners who gave their word.
Capital punishment is a legal penalty under the United States federal government criminal justice system.
In the United States, habitual offender laws were first implemented on March 7, 1994, and are part of the United States Justice Department's Anti-Violence Strategy. These laws require both a severe violent felony and two other previous convictions to serve a mandatory life sentence in prison. The purpose of the laws is to drastically increase the punishment of those convicted of more than two serious crimes.
Incarceration in the United States is a primary form of punishment and rehabilitation for the commission of felony and other offenses. The United States has the largest prison population in the world, and the highest per-capita incarceration rate. In 2018 in the US, there were 698 people incarcerated per 100,000; this includes the incarceration rate for adults or people tried as adults. In 2016, 2.2 million Americans have been incarcerated, which means for every 100,000 there are 655 who are currently inmates. Prison, parole, and probation operations generate an $81 billion annual cost to U.S. taxpayers, while police and court costs, bail bond fees, and prison phone fees generate another $100 billion in costs that are paid by individuals.
Mandatory sentencing requires that offenders serve a predefined term for certain crimes, commonly serious and violent offenses. Judges are bound by law; these sentences are produced through the legislature, not the judicial system. They are instituted to expedite the sentencing process and limit the possibility of irregularity of outcomes due to judicial discretion. Mandatory sentences are typically given to people who are convicted of certain serious and/or violent crimes, and require a prison sentence. Mandatory sentencing laws vary across nations; they are more prevalent in common law jurisdictions because civil law jurisdictions usually prescribe minimum and maximum sentences for every type of crime in explicit laws.
Penal labour is a generic term for various kinds of unfree labour which prisoners are required to perform, typically manual labour. The work may be light or hard, depending on the context. Forms of sentence involving penal labour have included involuntary servitude, penal servitude, and imprisonment with hard labour. The term may refer to several related scenarios: labour as a form of punishment, the prison system used as a means to secure labour, and labour as providing occupation for convicts. These scenarios can be applied to those imprisoned for political, religious, war, or other reasons as well as to criminal convicts.
Dustin Lee Honken and Angela Jane Johnson were convicted of the 1993 murders of five people in Iowa.
Ewing v. California, 538 U.S. 11 (2003), is one of two cases upholding a sentence imposed under California's three strikes law against a challenge that it constituted cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment. As in its prior decision in Harmelin v. Michigan, the United States Supreme Court could not agree on the precise reasoning to uphold the sentence. But, with the decision in Ewing and the companion case Lockyer v. Andrade, the Court effectively foreclosed criminal defendants from arguing that their non-capital sentences were disproportional to the crime they had committed.
Lockyer v. Andrade, 538 U.S. 63 (2003), decided the same day as Ewing v. California, held that there would be no relief by means of a petition for a writ of habeas corpus from a sentence imposed under California's three strikes law as a violation of the Eighth Amendment's prohibition of cruel and unusual punishments. Relying on the reasoning of Ewing and Harmelin v. Michigan, the Court ruled that because no "clearly established" law held that a three-strikes sentence was cruel and unusual punishment, the 50-years-to-life sentence imposed in this case was not cruel and unusual punishment.
In the United States, 1 in every 2,000 inhabitants are imprisoned for life. There are many U.S. states in which a convict can be released on parole after a decade or more has passed, but in California, people sentenced to life imprisonment can normally apply for parole after seven years. The laws in the United States divide life sentences between "determinate life sentences" and "indeterminate life sentences," the latter indicating the possibility of an abridged sentence, usually through the process of parole. For example, sentences of "15 years to life," "25 years to life," or "life with mercy" are called "indeterminate life sentences", while a sentence of "life without the possibility of parole" or "life without mercy" is called a "determinate life sentence". Any potential for parole is not guaranteed but discretionary, making it an indeterminate sentence. Even if a sentence specifically denies the possibility of parole, government officials may have the power to grant an amnesty, to reprieve, or to commute a sentence to time served.
Capital punishment was abolished in Colorado in 2020. It was legal from 1974 until 2020 prior to it being abolished. All death sentences have since been commuted to life sentences.
In the United States, sentencing law varies by jurisdiction. Since the US Constitution is the supreme law of the land, all sentences in the US must conform to the requirements of the Constitution, which sets basic mandates while leaving the bulk of policy-making up to the states.
The Continuing Criminal Enterprise Statute is a United States federal law that targets large-scale drug traffickers who are responsible for long-term and elaborate drug conspiracies. Unlike the RICO Act, which covers a wide range of organized crime enterprises, the CCE statute covers only major narcotics organizations. CCE is codified as Chapter 13 of Title 21 of the United States Code, 21 U.S.C. § 848. The statute makes it a federal crime to commit or conspire to commit a continuing series of felony violations of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 when such acts are taken in concert with five or more other persons. For conviction under this statute, the offender must have been an organizer, manager, or supervisor of the continuing operation and have obtained substantial income or resources from the drug violations.
In the United States, the law for murder varies by jurisdiction. In most US jurisdictions there is a hierarchy of acts, known collectively as homicide, of which first-degree murder and felony murder are the most serious, followed by second-degree murder, followed by voluntary manslaughter and involuntary manslaughter which are not as serious, and ending finally in justifiable homicide, which is not a crime. However, because there are at least 52 relevant jurisdictions, each with its own criminal code, this is a considerable simplification.
Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States holding that juvenile offenders cannot be sentenced to life imprisonment without parole for non-homicide offenses.
The criminal transmission of HIV in the United States varies among jurisdictions. More than thirty of the fifty states in the U.S. have prosecuted HIV-positive individuals for exposing another person to HIV. State laws criminalize different behaviors and assign different penalties. While pinpointing who infected whom is scientifically impossible, a person diagnosed with HIV who is accused of infecting another while engaging in sexual intercourse is, in many jurisdictions, automatically committing a crime. A person donating HIV-infected organs, tissues, and blood can be prosecuted for transmitting the virus. Spitting or transmitting HIV-infected bodily fluids is a criminal offense in some states, particularly if the target is a prison guard. Some states treat the transmission of HIV, depending upon a variety of factors, as a felony and others as a misdemeanor.
Capital punishment is abolished in the U.S. State of Iowa since 1965. Forty-five people, all men, were hanged by the neck until dead in Iowa between 1834 and 1963 for capital crimes including murder, rape, and robbery.
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