What Are the Four Principles of Sentencing In California ?

In People v. Williams (1998) our Supreme Court made it clear that in ruling whether to strike a prior felony conviction "in furtherance of justice," and in reviewing such a ruling, the trial and appellate courts must take their concept of justice from the "three strikes" law itself, "informed by generally applicable sentencing principles." (17 Cal. 4th at pp. 160, 161.) These "generally applicable sentencing principles," involve a balancing of the defendant's constitutional rights--including the guaranty against disproportionate punishment--and society's legitimate interests--which embrace the fair prosecution of properly charged crimes--as well as other factors "intrinsic to the statutory scheme, such as the nature and circumstances of the defendant's present felonies and prior serious and/or violent felony convictions, and the particulars of his background, character, and prospects." (Ibid.) The court further held that in determining whether "the defendant may be deemed outside the statutory scheme's spirit, in whole or in part," "no weight whatsoever may be given to factors extrinsic to the statutory scheme." (Id. at p. 161)