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My son is in jail has a prior strike for arson and now charged with domestic violence...does this Romero law pertain to him.?

San Luis Obispo, CA |

We are going on our third per prelim hearing which is on January 28 th 2013. Trying to plea out with the D.A. And my confidence in our attorney is diminishing greatly. Very frustrated. They said he is looking at 12 years in prison or minimal 9 years. DA wants to plea out 365 days straight in county with felony and no strike..straight time no half time...we don't think it's a good plea at all and our attorney says its all due to his prior and strike. That it's weighing heavy on how good the plea is going to be. Our attorney also advised us if my son had no strike he would of got 4 months with half time and 52 weeks of anger management class...please can you tell me if the romero act is helpful in our case...thanks so much. Desperate to get my 20 year old son out.

9/12year sentence is worse case scenario only if it goes to trial. If we plea out , the DA offered 365straight with no half, felony. But we are going to the last pre lim before trial. So if he takes the offer off table then trial we go and my son goes to state prison. The girl who made allegations told the truth and said he didn't hit her and also wrote a letter along with her parents telling judge the same thing. He was charged last year with 3 years probation community service and fine. He's had zero police contact held a job and community service done and restitution being paid. My son is losing faith in the attorney and we are too. We feel the deal should be better, lesser. Or if we have a chance with the Romero act I would love to bring it up with my attorney if we have a shot at it.

Attorney Answers 3


  1. A Romero motion applies when a person has a prior strike and the defense is requesting that the judge exercise their discretion to not impose the old strike for the purpose of sentencing on the new case.

    Nobody here can (or should) advise you whether the current offer is a good one or not. The only person in that position is the attorney who actually represents your son. If you're losing confidence, that's not a good sign, but the question is why? And is your son? Sometimes, a face to face meeting to discuss the situation (keeping in mind that the attorney may not be able to discuss certain aspects of the case and they won't discuss anything with you unless your son consents) helps.

    Depending on how old the arson conviction is, what your son has been doing between that conviction and the current case, etc. - those all factor in with the Romero motion.

    If I read your question correctly, he's looking at a minimum of 9 years, but they're offering a year in county jail and probation??? It sounds as though somebody has already agreed to strike the strike for the purpose of sentencing and grant him probation. In effect, it sounds as though somebody has already made a Romero-type motion/request and it worked. I may be missing something in the way you're describing the offers and minimums/maximums, so don't rely on anything I've said here to base a decision on.

    Bottom line - talk to his attorney.... at length.

    The above answer is for general information only and is based on the information you posted. Every case is fact dependent, so to get a thorough analysis of your situation, you will need to consult face to face with an attorney licensed to practice in the jurisdiction where the incident took place. Do not conclusively rely on any information posted online when deciding what to do about your case.


  2. First, there is no such thing a a Romero Act. Romero refers to a case [13 Cal.4th 497] where the California Supreme Court said that a trial court coud , in the interest of jusice, dismiss an allegation that a defendant had suffered a prior serious or violent conviction. The interest of justice concept does not mean that a judge can just dismiss the allegation to get to a specific sentence [People v. Williams 17 Cal.4th 148].
    As Mr. Dane stated, there are a number of factors the court has to consider including the length of time since the "strike" conviction and other personal factors.
    I also agree with Mr. Dane that no one on this forum can advise your son based on what you have provided. It is only one side of the picture. As probation is not an option if one has a strike and is convicted of a subsequent felony.
    If you are questioning the attorney, I suggest , as did Mr. Dane, you have a conversation with him. I would add that you probably have time to see other counsel and obtain a second opinion.
    Keep in mind thta there are differences in approach and personality. I tend to be a bit more aggressive than some of my colleagues and a little less aggressive than others.

    The above is not intended as legal advice. The response does not constitute the creation of an attorney client relationship as this forum does not provide for a confidential communication.


  3. A Romero motion only applies when your son is asking the judge to not impose the penalty based on the previous strike enhancement. Most call it "striking the strike". With the 365 offer a Romero motion is not appropriate, but rather is used when one is being sentenced to prison. No person on this website can tell you if your son is getting a good deal or a bad deal as we have not had an opportunity to view the entire case and the discovery. If you have lost confidence in your attorney, begin by discussing your feelings with your lawyer. If you are still unsatisfied, seek a 2nd opinion from a local criminal defense attorney. Good luck

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