Mostly clear

Early release likely for 'three-strikes' inmate from Sonoma County

A Sonoma County man serving life in prison for car theft under the state's tough three-strikes sentencing law could win his freedom as soon as Friday.

Jeffrey Michael Porter, 49, would be the first in the county to be released with the passage in November of Proposition 36, which changed the law to require that third "strikes" be serious or violent.

Porter, who has spent the past 14 years behind bars, contends he has never committed a violent or serious act. He's asking his sentencing judge, Allan Hardcastle, to set him free, claiming he has served enough time.

Hardcastle appeared to side with Porter at a hearing Wednesday. After a private meeting with prosecution and defense lawyers, he said he would announce his decision Friday.

"I think everyone's in agreement that no matter how the court configures it, he will have served the maximum that can be imposed," Hardcastle said from the bench.

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