A judge in Yolo County, Calif. has sentenced Robert Preston Ferguson to 7 years and 8 months in state prison for stealing a $3.99 bag of Tillamook shredded cheese.
Ferguson was a candidate for a life sentence under California's "three-strikes" law but the DA's office was only asking for 11 years.
In any event, Mr. Ferguson will be cooling his heels in stir for the next 8 years, - at a cost of about $32,000 a year to California taxpayers.
Last month the L.A. Times reported that, "U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy [in a speech to Los Angeles lawyers] criticized California sentencing policies and crowded prisons Wednesday night, calling the influence that unionized prison guards had in passing the three-strikes law "sick." Said Kennedy:
“California now has 185,000 people in prison at $32,500 a year each, ”he said. He then urged voters and officials to compare that expense to what taxpayers spend per pupil in elementary schools. “The three-strikes law sponsor is the correctional officers’ union and that is sick!” Kennedy said of the measure mandating life sentences for third-time criminal offenders.