William Rummel : A Life Prison Under The Texas Recidivist Statute

731 Words Jan 19th, 2016 3 Pages
In 1980, William Rummel was penalized to a life in prison under the Texas recidivist statute. This Texas recidivist statute, declared by Article 63 of the Texas Penal Code of 1925, states that third time offenders will be condemned to a life sentence. Rummel had committed three nonviolent crimes, beginning with the unlawful use of a credit card, which he used to buy eighty dollars worth of goods. He served three years for this offense. Next, Rummel served four years for forging a check for twenty-eight dollars and thirty-six cents. His third strike came when he obtained one hundred and twenty dollars and seventy-six cents under false pretenses, a crime for which offenders usually serve two to ten years. According to the recidivist statute, he was condemned to serve many more.
Rummel attempted to appeal his sentence, yet it was turned down. He later attempted to petition for a writ of habeas corpus, claiming that a life sentence was not proportionate to the crimes he committed, which totaled only less than two hundred and thirty dollars. In this way, his sentencing would have violated the eighth and fourteenth amendment. The eighth amendment states that the federal government cannot inflict cruel or unusual punishment, while the fourteenth amendment claims that all citizens have equal protection under the law.
After his appeals were denied, a fifth circuit court expressed that Rummel was entitled to a writ habeas corpus due to the actions of his defense lawyer. Rummel’s…

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