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Strike Offenses and Proposition 36

Donte T Wyatt - 

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Strike Offenses and Proposition 36

California 3 Strikes Law can have a dramatic effect on any criminal case regarding strike offenses, although the recent passage of Proposition 36 has modified the implantation of the three strikes law. The effect on a person with less then two prior strike offenses has not changed if a person is charged with any felony and they previously suffered a strike prior they are required to go to prison (unless the court or the prosecutor exercises their discretion to dismiss the strike prior) and the person charged with the crime must serve 80% of the sentence which is doubled as a matter of law.

strike offenses

If a person has a strike prior and they are charged with a felony it is critical that they immediately obtain the assistance of a competent criminal defense attorney. An experience criminal defense attorney will know how to properly evaluate their client case and advise the client of the possible consequences. In addition, an experienced criminal defense attorney will no how to properly prepare and argue a (Romero) motion to persuade the court to dismiss the strike offense to make the person charged with a crime with a strike prior eligible for probation.

Prior to the passing of Proposition 36 any person charged with a felony who had been previously convicted of two or more strike priors would have been eligible to be sentenced to 25 to life regardless of the nature of the new felony charge. However the passage of Proposition 36 has excluded some felony charges from being eligible for a 25 to life sentence when a person has two strike priors.

Proposition 36 essentially does the following:
Revises the three strikes law to impose life sentence only when the new felony conviction is "serious or violent".
Authorizes re-sentencing for offenders currently serving life sentences if their third strike conviction was not serious or violent and if the judge determines that the re-sentence does not pose unreasonable risk to public safety.
Continues to impose a life sentence penalty if the third strike conviction was for "certain non-serious, non-violent sex or drug offenses or involved firearm possession".
Maintains the life sentence penalty for felons with "non-serious, non-violent third strike if prior convictions were for rape, murder, or child molestation."

Below is a list of criminal charges, allegations and enhancements that constitute a strike offense under California Law:

(c) As used in this section, "serious felony" means any of the following:
(1) Murder or voluntary manslaughter; (2) mayhem; (3) rape; (4) sodomy by force, violence, duress, menace, threat of great bodily injury, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person; (5) oral copulation by force, violence, duress, menace, threat of great bodily injury, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person; (6) lewd or lascivious act on a child under 14 years of age; (7) any felony punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison for life; (8) any felony in which the defendant personally inflicts great bodily injury on any person, other than an accomplice, or any felony in which the defendant personally uses a firearm; (9) attempted murder; (10) assault with intent to commit rape or robbery; (11) assault with a deadly weapon or instrument on a peace officer; (12) assault by a life prisoner on a noninmate; (13) assault with a deadly weapon by an inmate; (14) arson; (15) exploding a destructive device or any explosive with intent to injure; (16) exploding a destructive device or any explosive causing bodily injury, great bodily injury, or mayhem; (17) exploding a destructive device or any explosive with intent to murder; (18) any burglary of the first degree; (19) robbery or bank robbery; (20) kidnapping; (21) holding of a hostage by a person confined in a state prison; (22) attempt to commit a felony punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison for life; (23) any felony in which the defendant personally used a dangerous or deadly weapon; (24) selling, furnishing, administering, giving, or offering to sell, furnish, administer, or give to a minor any heroin, cocaine, phencyclidine (PCP), or any methamphetamine-related drug, as described in paragraph (2) of subdivision (d) of Section 11055 of the Health and Safety Code, or any of the precursors of methamphetamines, as described in subparagraph (A) of paragraph (1) of subdivision (f) of Section 11055 or subdivision (a) of Section 11100 of the Health and Safety Code; (25) any violation of subdivision (a) of Section 289 where the act is accomplished against the victim's will by force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the victim or another person; (26) grand theft involving a firearm; (27) carjacking; (28) any felony offense, which would also constitute a felony violation of Section 186.22; (29) assault with the intent to commit mayhem, rape, sodomy, or oral copulation, in violation of Section 220; (30) throwing acid or flammable substances, in violation of Section 244; (31) assault with a deadly weapon, firearm, machinegun, assault weapon, or semiautomatic firearm or assault on a peace officer or firefighter, in violation of Section 245; (32) assault with a deadly weapon against a public transit employee, custodial officer, or school employee, in violation of Sections 245.2, 245.3, or 245.5; (33) discharge of a firearm at an inhabited dwelling, vehicle, or aircraft, in violation of Section 246; (34) commission of rape or sexual penetration in concert with another person, in violation of Section 264.1; (35) continuous sexual abuse of a child, in violation of Section 288.5; (36) shooting from a vehicle, in violation of subdivision (c) or (d) of Section 12034; (37) intimidation of victims or witnesses, in violation of Section 136.1; (38) criminal threats, in violation of Section 422; (39) any attempt to commit a crime listed in this subdivision other than an assault; (40) any violation of Section 12022.53; (41) a violation of subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 11418; and (42) any conspiracy to commit an offense described in this subdivision.

In addition to serious felonies California Law has a second set of Strike Offenses called Violent Felonies within the meaning of Penal Code section 667.5(c). Some offenses are listed under both Penal Code section 1192.7 and 667.5(c) and are therefore both serious and violent.
Penal Code Section 667.5(c) lists the following offenses as Violent Felony Offenses:

(c) For the purpose of this section, "violent felony" shall mean any of the following:
(1) Murder or voluntary manslaughter.
(2) Mayhem.
(3) Rape as defined in paragraph (2) or (6) of subdivision (a) of Section 261 or paragraph (1) or (4) of subdivision (a) of Section 262.
(4) Sodomy as defined in subdivision (c) or (d) of Section 286.
(5) Oral copulation as defined in subdivision (c) or (d) of Section 288a.
(6) Lewd or lascivious act as defined in subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 288.
(7) Any felony punishable by death or imprisonment in the state prison for life.
(8) Any felony in which the defendant inflicts great bodily injury on any person other than an accomplice which has been charged and proved as provided for in Section 12022.7, 12022.8, or 12022.9 on or after July 1, 1977, or as specified prior to July 1, 1977, in Sections 213, 264, and 461, or any felony in which the defendant uses a firearm which use has been charged and proved as provided in subdivision (a) of Section 12022.3, or Section 12022.5 or 12022.55.
(9) Any robbery.
(10) Arson, in violation of subdivision (a) or (b) of Section 451.
(11) Sexual penetration as defined in subdivision (a) or (j) of Section 289.
(12) Attempted murder.
(13) A violation of Section 12308, 12309, or 12310.
(14) Kidnapping.
(15) Assault with the intent to commit a specified felony, in violation of Section 220.
(16) Continuous sexual abuse of a child, in violation of Section 288.5.
(17) Carjacking, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 215.
(18) Rape, spousal rape, or sexual penetration, in concert, in violation of Section 264.1.
(19) Extortion, as defined in Section 518, which would constitute a felony violation of Section 186.22 of the Penal Code.
(20) Threats to victims or witnesses, as defined in Section 136.1, which would constitute a felony violation of Section 186.22 of the Penal Code.
(21) Any burglary of the first degree, as defined in subdivision (a) of Section 460, wherein it is charged and proved that another person, other than an accomplice, was present in the residence during the commission of the burglary.
(22) Any violation of Section 12022.53.
(23) A violation of subdivision (b) or (c) of Section 11418. The Legislature finds and declares that these specified crimes merit special consideration when imposing a sentence to display society's condemnation for these extraordinary crimes of violence against the
person.


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