California Penal Code Section 1385(A) - Case Laws Example

In People v. Superior Court (Romero) (1996) 13 Cal.4th 497, the court concluded section 1385, subdivision (a), permits a trial court to exercise its discretion and strike a prior felony conviction in the interests of justice. a trial court's discretion to strike a prior conviction in furtherance of justice is limited, however. Courts may not dismiss prior convictions solely to accommodate judicial convenience or relieve court congestion. Nor may the court strike a prior solely in exchange for a guilty plea, or because the court dislikes the lengthy sentence a defendant must serve under the Three Strikes law. (Romero, at p. 530.) The standard for ruling on a Romero motion, and for our review, is "whether, in light of the nature and circumstances of a defendant's present felonies and prior serious and/or violent felony convictions, and the particulars of her background, character, and prospects, the defendant may be deemed outside the scheme's spirit, in whole or in part, and hence should be treated as though she had not previously been convicted of one or more serious and/or violent felonies." (People v. Williams (1998) 17 Cal.4th 148, 161 (Williams).) The standard is "deferential," not de novo; the issue whether the trial court's decision "'falls outside the bounds of reason.'" (Id. at p. 162.)