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Petaluma jewelry store burglar's sentence stands despite '3 strikes' change

A career criminal serving life in prison after being convicted of a Petaluma jewelry store burglary was denied a reduction in his sentence sought under voter-approved amendments to the three strikes law.

Sammie Ford, 39, was sentenced in 2002 to 27 years to life in prison for the burglary at the Petaluma Outlet Mall. He and three others drove to Petaluma from Los Angeles and staged the night break-in, taking more than $15,000 in jewelry, prosecutors said.

He was out on bail at the time in connection with a similar jewelry store burglary in West Covina, prosecutors said.

Eleven years earlier, he was convicted of an Orange County robbery. In 1993, he was found guilty in a fatal drive-by shooting in Los Angeles County.

He sought resentencing in his Sonoma County case after last year's passage of Proposition 36, which required third strikes to be violent or serious felonies.

After reviewing his petition, Sonoma County Superior Court Judge Robert Boyd on Wednesday declined the request, finding Ford posed a danger to public safety.

Ford's original sentence will stand, prosecutors said.

— Paul Payne, The Press Democrat


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