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How to Defend the Three Strikes Cases in Los Angeles


The Three Strikes Law came into being in California in the early 1990’s.  Basically, it’s the government’s attempt to try and curtail violent or career criminals.  In other words, those people who continue to pick up case after case who are a danger to the public.  So, the District Attorney’s office in Los Angeles County has the duty to implement the Three Strikes Law.  When it first came out it was very harsh because the prosecutors were the only ones who had discretion to strike strikes and they also had the discretion whether to file a case as a strike.

Eventually the judiciary was able to strike strikes by way of People v. Romero which was a case that allowed them to strike a strike and said they had the discretion to do that.  So, how it goes now in Los Angeles county is, if your client is charged with a crime and they have a strike prior or priors that are being alleged against them, then first the protocol is to go to the District Attorney’s office and see if they will strike the strike if you’re trying to negotiate a plea bargain.  If that doesn’t work, you go to the Judge.  You file what’s called a Romero Motion and you ask the Judge to strike the strike.  If the Judge strikes the strike, then you’re in a position where you’re trying to negotiate typically with the Judge at that point to try to resolve the case for your client.

Modifications to Three Strikes Law

The Three Strikes Law has been challenged all the way up to the Supreme Court and it’s passed all constitutional challenges to it.  However, it has changed over the years and now not everything is a strike where they have added things that are strikes.  There’s only certain crimes that can trigger it to be a third strike where you’re looking at twenty-five to life.  So, they have tuned-up the Three Strikes Law over the course of the last twenty-five years of its existence, but it’s still in play.  It’s still a very potent weapon for the prosecutors as they attempt to curtail crime and punish people, and people are still looking at a lot of time when they get hit with the Three Strikes Law, although California Proposition 57 and some of these other Propositions have also lessened the blow of the Three Strikes Law.

So, if you’re charged with a third strike or a second strike or even charged with potentially your first strike, then you’re going to want to get a criminal defense attorney on your team.  I’ve been doing this a long time.  I’ve handled strike cases since the Three Strikes Law’s inception and had a lot of success.  That’s what it really takes — almost an act of Congress to get the prosecutors to strike some of these strikes.  Usually they have to be at least ten years old, no horrible violence.  They’ve got all their little rules so your attorney needs to know how to navigate the Three Strikes Law in Los Angeles and across California to get you the best possible result in your case.

 

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Ronald D. Hedding, ESQ.

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