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Name: People v. Koontz
Case #: B224697
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 03/02/2011
Subsequent History: 5/18/11: review granted (S192116)

Penal Code “section 1385 vests the trial court with the discretion to strike a prior serious felony conviction in order to afford the maximum allowable presentence conduct credits.” Appellant pled guilty to child endangerment, and admitted a strike prior and two prison priors in exchange for an indicated three-year sentence. The court struck the strike prior and one of the prison priors to arrive at that sentence. Appellant then requested one-for-one conduct credits under amended section 4019. The court said it could not give those credits due to the prior strike conviction. Appellant argued that the striking of the strike prior made him eligible for the additional credits as the statute was written, and that the trial court misunderstood its sentencing discretion. The appellate court agreed. Section 1385 allows the trial court to strike a strike in its entirety or for different sentencing purposes. (People v. Pacheco (2007) 155 Cal.App.4th 1439.) The eligibility factors in section 4019 do not trump the court’s discretion under section 1385. The Legislature could have curtailed the court’s section 1385 discretion in this regard had it wanted to, as it has done in other contexts. It may be that curtailment of section 1385 discretion is what the Legislature intended by listing a strike conviction as an ineligibility factor, but that is not how the statute was drafted. The court remanded for the trial court to decide whether or not it wanted to strike the strike prior for credits purposes.