Third Strike Trial for Transporting Methamphetamine Results in Hung Jury
Three Strikes Trial
In Santa Clara County my client was charged with transporting methamphetamine (Health and Safety Code section 11379) and possessing methamphetamine for sale (Health and Safety Code section 11378). The District Attorney also alleged that my client suffered two prior convictions for selling methamphetamine, as well as, PCP. Additionally, the District Attorney alleged that my client did not remain free from prison custody within 5 years of committing the current offense (Penal Code section 667.5(b) – 1 year consecutive prison enhancement). More importantly, the District Attorney alleged that my client suffered three prior strike convictions (note – the law only requires that an individual suffer two prior strike convictions before he/she will face a minimum of 25 years to life in prison if convicted of a new felony offense). In this case we pulled the records from the alleged prior strike convictions and we learned that one of the alleged strike convictions was not in fact a strike conviction. After presenting this fact to the District Attorney, the District Attorney did the right thing and struck the prior strike allegation prior to trial. But, despite this big win, my client was still facing two prior strike convictions which meant that he would still face 25 years to life in prison if he was convicted in this new case. So, my client had a choice, did he want to take his chance at trial or take his chance at pleading guilty or no contest and asking the trial court judge to strike one or more of his prior strike convictions so that he could avoid 25 to life. Of course, my client was going to trial. And, what was the outcome at trial? Hung jury. No conviction. No prison.