Forest Wilkerson has extensive experience defending three strikes cases. She has represented dozens of clients charged with “strike prior” offenses, including clients facing life charges for multiple strikes. This is a complex area of law where stakes are high.
Forest is one of the only local attorneys to contest a strike prior at trial and win – a judge found the strike “not true” and her client got a drug treatment program instead of state prison.
Forest is also skilled at litigating “Romero” motions to ask a judge to dismiss one or more strike priors based on the nature of the charge, the defendant’s background, and future prospects. These motions are always challenging as they involve interviewing witnesses and collecting employment references, mental health records, proof of school enrollment, and efforts at drug treatment and rehabilitation. Forest takes this information and presents a compelling and sympathetic biography to the judge to request dismissal of a strike.
Forest is also prepared for the challenges of Prop 36 (three strikes reform) sentencing. For individuals currently serving life sentences, they may apply for a reduced sentence if they would not be facing a life sentence under the new law. Courts may deny re-sentencing if the prosecution persuades the court that the defendant remains dangerous. Although this area of law is still evolving, re-sentencing hearings will probably end up resembling “Romero” hearings described above, with a detailed and sympathetic history of the defendant’s background being the key to winning. Forest can help an individual present themselves in the best possible light by working with them to take steps to show rehabilitation and present their prison record in the best possible light before filing the re-sentencing motion.
Many individuals will not qualify for re-sentencing under the new law. Forest will provide a free initial screening of your case to determine if you qualify for re-sentencing.
For more informatin see Forest’s blog posts on Three Strkes.
Forest’s office is in La Quinta, California and she takes cases throughout Southern California, with an emphasis on the desert cities of Palm Springs, Palm Desert, Cathedral City, Bermuda Dunes, Thousand Palms, Rancho Mirage, Indian Wells, Indio, La Quinta, and Coachella.