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Name: Davis v. Woodford
Case #: 05-55164
Court: US Court of Appeals
District 9 Cir
Opinion Date: 04/27/2006

In 1986, appellant was convicted of eight robberies. The state court expressly agreed to treat the robbery conviction as one “strike” at the time appellant entered his plea. In 2000, a jury convicted appellant of a felony, and he was sentenced to 25 years to life under the Three Strikes Law based on eight prior strikes. After unsuccessful state appeals and state habeas petitions, appellant filed a federal habeas petition, arguing that the use of his 1986 conviction as eight separate “strikes” breached the 1986 plea agreement. The appellate court agreed and reversed. Under Santobello v. New York, where the plea rests on a promise by the prosecutor, the promise must be fulfilled. In reviewing the plea colloquy here, the only inference which can be drawn is that the state promised to treat the conviction as one prior, and that this promise induced the plea. Sentencing appellant on eight strikes violated the plea agreement as well as state contract law.