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Crime And Punishment
Child pornography okay for liberal legislators…
[by Ray Haynes] 9/19/05

Want to know what is really wrong in Sacramento? Witness Mark Leno—the Chair of the Assembly Public Safety Committee. He is the one person in the Assembly most responsible for our policy towards crime and punishment and he was appointed to that important post by our Democrat Speaker, who was elected by the Democrat majority in the Legislature.

He appeared on national television this week, and said that he did not believe that possession of child pornography should be a felony in this state. Never mind that some child was sexually molested and abused in the making of that despicable material. Never mind that some criminal made lots of money off the commission of that sexually violent behavior. Never mind that the person who possesses the material made the molestation possible by buying the material. Nope, never mind all that. Mark thinks it shouldn’t be a felony.


Ray Haynes

Mr. Haynes is an Assembly member representing Riverside and Temecula. He serves on the Appropriations and Budget Committees. [go to Assembly Member Haynes website at California Assembly][go to Haynes index]

His reasoning you ask? Here is his quote from the interview on the Bill O’Reilly show:

O’Reilly: Child pornography - you don’t think should be a felony?

Leno: First offense, I don’t believe it. Because we have a flawed three strikes law in California. We’re the only state in the nation that can send someone away for life for a nonviolent or non-serious offense. And until we fix that in our three strikes laws, I’m reluctant to make new felonies for just about anything.

What is wrong with this statement? First, it assumes that there is something wrong with putting someone who possesses child pornography away in jail for the rest of their life. Child molestation is a violent felony; making and possessing child pornography is aiding and abetting the molester. Under the law, the accomplice to the crime (in the case those who aid and abet the crime) is guilty of the same crime as the one who commits the crime. It is not hard to justify a life sentence for child molestation—and just as easy to justify a life sentence for making, selling and possessing child pornography.

However, let’s assume that life for child pornography is too harsh, what is wrong with sentencing someone to life if it is their third strike, even if it is “nonserious or nonviolent?” Under California’s current law, no one can go to jail for life unless they have already committed two serious or violent felonies. Two victims of the worst kind of crimes—robbery, homicide, rape, mayhem and the like—already exist. Why do we have to wait for a third victim before we as a society conclude that the perpetrator ought not live among the good people any more?

Lawrence Singleton raped and cut off the arms of a college student a few years ago, and left her for dead on the side of the freeway. She didn’t die so he only got fifteen years, and with our lenient good time/work time credits at the time, he only served about ten years. When he got out, no one in California wanted him, so he moved to Florida, which has a weaker three strikes law. He stole a baseball cap, and then stole a camera. Under California’s law, after stealing the camera, he could have been sentenced to life in prison, and people like Mr. Leno would cry about the camera thief and how unjust it was that he would spend the rest of his life in prison.

Except Singleton then killed a woman. Now he is in jail for the rest of his life in Florida, but a woman had to die to get that to happen. If that woman lived in California, she would still be alive—and that is why our three strikes law is right, and why people like Mr. Leno are wrong. This stuff isn’t rocket science, it just requires a little common sense—something in short supply in Sacramento. CRO

Mr. Haynes is a California Assembleyman representing Riverside and Temecula and frequent contributor to


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