Romero Motion California
In People v. Superior Court (Romero) (1996) 13 Cal.4th 497, the California Supreme Court held that a court has discretion under section 1385, subdivision (a), to strike prior "strikes" "in furtherance of justice." (Id. at pp. 529-530.)
General principles for the exercise of this discretion "require consideration both of the constitutional rights of the defendant, and the interests of society." (Id. at p. 530.)
A trial court abuses its discretion if it dismisses strikes based solely on judicial convenience, court congestion, the defendant's willingness to plead guilty, or personal antipathy to the Three Strikes law, while disregarding the defendant's background, the nature of his present offenses, and other individualized considerations. (Id. at p. 531.)
The court provided additional guidelines for exercising the discretion to strike prior "strikes" in People v. Williams (1998) 17 Cal.4th 148, 159-161.
In making or reviewing a decision to strike a prior "strike" offense, a court "must consider whether, in light of the nature and circumstances of his present felonies and prior serious and/or violent felony convictions, and the particulars of his 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 he had not previously been convicted of one or more serious and/or violent felonies." (Id. at p. 161.)
The court cautioned that the standard for review of an exercise of discretion is "deferential," but not empty, requiring the reviewing court to determine whether a ruling exceeds the bounds of reason under the law and relevant facts. (Id. at p. 162.)
A decision to strike a prior conviction remote in time is an abuse of discretion where the defendant has not led a crime-free existence since the time of his last conviction. (People v. Humphrey (1997) 58 Cal.App.4th 809, 813.)