Prison life must not be all that bad to Orange County's Rodolfo Magana Cortez.
At least Cortez, who already enjoyed two felony strikes against him, wasn't worried about returning to the slammer on July 3, 2007, in Garden Grove.
In fact, he took six simultaneous steps to trigger California's Three Strikes law and potentially keep him locked up for the rest of his life.
Okay, potential Third Strikers, take out your notebooks and write down the steps:
Step 1: Park a vehicle in a "no parking" area so that police will notice you.
Step 2: Be high on methamphetamine while you're in the vehicle.
Step 3: Keep an extra supply of the illegal narcotic as well as drug paraphernalia in the vehicle with you.
Step 4: Have an open container of booze in the vehicle and make sure it's in a spot where approaching police can easily see it.
Step 5: Don't forget to put a loaded handgun in your waistband.
Step 6: Fight with the officers who confront you.
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The scenario wasn't one that a local jury would probably admire. Cortez waived his right to a jury trial, but still found himself convicted by an Orange County Superior Court judge who sentenced him to spend at least 25 years in prison or, perhaps, the rest of his life. When, or if, he ever returns to society will be up to a future parole board.
Cortez appealed, claiming the officers fabricated their incident report. Last week, a California Court of Appeal based in Santa Ana considered and rejected his claims. But the justices did overturn the trial judge's decision not to award him credit for 1,362 days spent in the Orange County Jail before his conviction.
Upshot: Cortez's life in freedom probably ended at the age of 27.