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3-STRIKES --- CA LAWS

3-STRIKES --- CA LAWS

California’s 3-Strikes went into effect on March 7, 1994. Its purpose is to increase punishment for persons convicted of a felony who have previously been convicted of one or more "serious" or "violent" felonies. A "serious" or "violent" felony prior is commonly knows as a "strike" prior. These serious felonies are listed in Penal Code 1192.7(c) and 1192.8, and violent felonies are listed in 667.5(c).   

One prior strike doubles the new (2nd x) conviction see (PC 667(e)(1) and 1170.12(c)(1) AND potentially will add 5-year if the second conviction is considered to be a  "serious" felony. See PC (667(a), the three-strikes law calls for a 25-to-life sentence for any new felony.

Do juvenile convictions count as strikes? IT DEPENDS. 

See PC 667(d)(3) and 1170.12(b)(3). The Penal Code set four (4) conditions that must be
met for a juvenile conviction (16 yrs or older) to count as a strike.

Case Analysis, after trial. Fees:***$6,000

Case Analysis, after trial. Fees:***$6,000

There are two  popular ways to challenge a conviction in an appellate court: a direct appeal and a writ of habeas corpus.  

DIRECT CRIMINAL APPEAL
A direct criminal appeal is  basically challenging  issues arising during any point in the trial. A direct appeal is usually limited to issues that are part of the official trial record, clerk & reporters transcript, exhibits, etc..These issues can include: pretrial motions, jury selection, evidentiary rulings, and opening and closing arguments. Timing is extremely important in a direct appeal. The trial court must be given written notice of appeal  NORMALLY within 30 days after the judgment and sentence are entered.

WRIT OF HABEAS CORPUS (WHC) - Most widely used by Lifers
A post-conviction   writ of habeas corpus is  attacking a conviction that has already been upheld on appeal. A writ of HC is used to appeal factors outside the official trial record. To succeed the defendant (or inmate)  must have suffered from some sort of fundamental, constitutional error. These can include: the  DA (prosecution)  improperly withheld exculpatory evidence, a defendant's plea was involuntary, or newly discovered evidence exists which could not have been reasonably discovered earlier  AND if the evidence is assumed true that such evidence would serious undermine the conviction.  A new court precedence (new law)  which due to its retroactive application would render the conviction unlawful. The most common form of error alleged in these types of Appeal format  is ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC). We review the case and assess  (via an OPINION letter) what we believe the convicted person's chances of success would be.

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Our office realizes that financial resources for inmates and their family/friends may be limited.  But, on the other hand, we cannot do all our work on a pro bono basis, or we could not survive as a firm.  As an alternative plan, our office is willing to perform an analysis of the issues in your case for a fee of $6000.  This includes a review of all pertinent documents (transcripts, legal pleadings to date, etc.), followed by a thorough, exhaustive written analysis of the potential of success on appeal (usually via a habeas corpus petition).  This fee does not include preparation of your appellate pleadings, but will give you information from which you can make a decision whether to invest further financial resources to pursue your claim(s) in the appropriate court(s).  There would be additional fees to prepare and litigate the pleadings.  If the client decides to proceed with the case, the amount charged for the evaluation is applied to that retainer.  The fee for an evaluation is $6,000.  There is another fee of approximately $6,000- $7,000, to prepare and litigate the pleadings through all levels (Superior, Appellate and Supreme) of the California State courts. 

3-Strikes : Elimination of a strike. Fees: ***$10,000

3-Strikes : Elimination of a strike. Fees: ***$10,000

A defendant with two or more ** "Strike" priors (a third striker) faces a minimum of 25-years-to-life in prison.  After serving the 25-years on a 25-to-life sentence, he is then eligible for, but not guaranteed, parole. Whether and when an eligible life prisoner is paroled is up to the Board of Parole Hearings (BPH). The BPH is made up of members (mostly x-law enforcement staff) appointed by the Governor and they tend to be very conservative about paroling eligible life inmates. Since no 3-Strike life inmates has become eligible for parole and none will until 2019, no one knows how the BPH will deal with 3-Strike inmates.

In the mean time, it MAY be possible to eliminate a previous “Strikes,” and possibly get a sentence reduced.

There are a few ways to potentially eliminate previous “Strikes” which have been utilized by the sentencing court.  Among those which have been successful are:  ineffective assistance of trial counsel (IAC) , inadequate proof of priors, a trial judge determining facts of the prior offense, when those facts must be determined by a jury, breach of a previous plea bargain, assigning multiple “Strikes” for an offense which involved a single course of action, a conviction from a different jurisdiction which does not qualify under California law as a “Strike.”  Each case must be individually evaluated, based on its own unique facts.  If you have been sentenced illegally, a court always maintains jurisdiction to correct that illegal sentence.

** STRIKES: (aka Violent felonies) include murder, mayhem, rape, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act, robbery, kidnapping, carjacking, and first-degree burglary. Violent felonies also include any felony punishable by a life sentence or the death penalty. And any felony where the defendant inflicts great bodily injury or uses a firearm is a violent felony. 

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