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Name: People v. Carmony
Case #: S115090
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 07/08/2004

A trial court’s decision not to strike a prior conviction allegation should be reviewed under the deferential abuse of discretion standard. Here, appellant pleaded guilty to failing to register and admitted three prior “strikes.” The trial court refused appellant’s motion to dismiss two of the strikes pursuant to Penal Code section 1385 because of appellant’s lengthy criminal record, his knowledge of the duty to register, his poor work record, and lack of future prospects. The appellate court reversed and remanded for reconsideration, holding that the trial court abused its discretion, finding that due to the nature and circumstances of the offense, appellant fell outside the spirit of the three strikes law. The Supreme Court granted review to consider what standard of review should be applied to the trial court’s decision not to dismiss or strike a sentencing allegation under section 1385, and whether, under that standard, the trial court erred in this case. The Court held that abuse of discretion was the appropriate standard, and under that standard, the trial court here did not abuse its discretion. The court’s decision was not arbitrary or irrational, and was based on the totality of circumstances. The Court of Appeal erred when it reweighed the factors and substituted its judgment for that of the trial court.