Three Strikes Law Didn’t Apply to White Career Criminal Who Triggered Law’s Passage

Douglas Walker

Douglas Walker

Every day in this country, black and brown people are hastily sentenced to mandatory minimum prison sentences. Their lives hang in the balance, not based on a judge’s wisdom, but archaic punishments, such as California’s ‘three strikes’ law.

Ironically, California passed its ‘three strikes’ law after a white career criminal, Douglas Walker, was found guilty of accessory to the murder of 18-year-old Kimber Reynolds in 1992. Walker had been in trouble with the law since the not so tender age of 13, so when Reynolds’ father was made aware of Walker’s history, and after Walker had only served half of his 9 year prison sentence, Mr. Reynolds spearheaded a campaign for California’s “three strikes” law. The law dictates that criminals found guilty of three violent crimes or serious felonies must serve at least 25 years in prison.

Although Walker, who is white, committed his third felony in 2003, he avoided the three strikes law because of his white privilege. The judge who sentenced Walker said that his crime of stealing a tool chest was a low level crime, so he was only sentenced to 12 years in prison. He was paroled this past November and was rearrested in February after being accused of injury to a spouse, criminal threats and violation of probation.

But compare Walker’s get-out-of-jail-free card to the harsh sentence handed down to Willie Smith Ward of Texas, who was sentenced to 50 years for stealing a rack of ribs.    Mind you, both Ward and Walker had previous felony convictions, but only Ward’s judge adhered to the letter of the law, whereas Walker was given the benefit of the doubt. Walker was the one thought to be deserving of a second chance. This is the insidiousness of racism. You don’t have to hate black people to be racist. That’s not a requirement. You just have to hold whites and blacks to two very different standards, which has quantifiable results.

 


 

1 comments
BillSchrier
BillSchrier

Walker looks like he deserves another chance.  The author is very harsh.