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Washington backs off three-strikes law

OLYMPIA, Wash., Aug. 14 (UPI) -- Washington state, the first in the country to adopt a three-strikes law, has begun releasing inmates sentenced to life for a series of felonies.

Steven Dozier, 47, was granted clemency in May, the Los Angeles Times reports. Dozier was convicted four times for purse snatching and similar thefts before being sent to prison for life with no chance of parole.

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The Pardons and Clemency Board has recommended release for two other men sentenced under the three strikes law. Al-Kareem Shadeed, 39, and Michael Bridges, 47, both got life sentences for stealing wallets.

"My sentence is the same as the Green River killer's," Shadeed wrote in January, referring to one of Washington's most notorious serial killers. "And other people who have viciously murdered and raped women and children are getting out of prison while I never will."

Washington, like many other states, has begun applying the law less strictly. The state has begun reviewing the records of people sentenced in the 1990s, looking for those who would probably not get life without parole now.

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