Petty Theft With a Prior California

It is a theft by a person who was undeterred by conviction and incarceration for a previous theft-type offense. This is serious misconduct that is rationally punished more severely than petty theft by a first-time offender. (People v. Nguyen (1997) 54 Cal.App.4th 705, 718-719 upholding, against an equal protection constitutional challenge, the application of the Three Strikes law to a current offense of petty theft with a prior.) Petty theft with a prior has been considered a felony since enactment of the original Penal Code in 1872. (Historical and Statutory Notes, 49 West's Ann. Pen. Code (1999 ed.) foll. 666, pp. 445-446.) In California the basic test for a cruel or unusual punishment is whether, considering the nature of the offense and the nature of the offender, the sentence is so disproportionate that it shocks the conscience and offends fundamental notions of human dignity. ( In re Lynch (1972) 8 Cal.3d 410, 424; People v. Dillon (1983) 34 Cal.3d 441, 479.) Under the United States Constitution, a noncapital punishment provided by state law must not be so extreme as to be "grossly disproportionate" to the offense. ( Harmelin v. Michigan (1991) 501 U.S. 957, 1001 opn. of Kennedy, J..)