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SB 775-Resentencing for aiding and abetting attempted murder or manslaughter

SB 775 expands SB 1437 which changed the felony murder rule for aiders and abettors

SB 1437, passed in 2018 changed the laws about conviction of aiders and abettor for murder  People with murder convictions under the old laws could file a petition asking the court to be resentenced on a less serious felony. Penal Code section 1170.95 details the procedure for resentencing:.

“A person convicted of felony murder or murder under a natural and probable consequences theory may file a petition with the court that sentenced the petitioner to have the petitioner’s murder conviction vacated and to be resentenced on any remaining counts when all of the following conditions apply:

(1) A complaint, information, or indictment was filed against the petitioner that allowed the prosecution to proceed under a theory of felony murder or murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine.

(2) The petitioner was convicted of first degree or second degree murder following a trial or accepted a plea offer in lieu of a trial at which the petitioner could be convicted for first degree or second degree murder.

(3) The petitioner could not be convicted of first or second degree murder because of changes to Section 188 or 189 made effective January 1, 2019.”

SB 775, passed in 2021, provides that people who were convicted of aiding and abetting an attempted murder (under the natural and probable consequences doctrine), and people who were charged with murder but convicted of manslaughter, can petition the court to be resentenced on a less serious felony

Eligibility for resentencing under SB 775: aiding and abetting and natural and probable consequences

Beginning January 1, 2022, people who were convicted of aiding and abetting attempted murder (under the natural and probable consequences doctrine), and aiders and abettors charged with murder but convicted of manslaughter, can petition the court to have their convictions vacated and to be resentenced on a less serious felony.

Someone aids and abets a crime if he knows of the perpetrator’s unlawful purpose and  specifically intends to, and does, aid, facilitate, promote, encourage, or instigate the perpetrator’s commission of that crime.

In a murder case, an aider and abettor is not the actual killer but helped the actual killer by knowing of the killer’s plan, and intended to help the killer commit the murder, and did something to help the actual killer commit the murder. An aider and abettor can help an actual killer by encouraging him, providing him with weapons, or helping him plan the killing.

The natural and probable consequences doctrine punishes crime when two or more people intend to commit a certain crime, and one of the participants commits a different or additional crime.

A person could be convicted of attempted murder even though he did not intend to kill but only intended to help the attempted murderer commit another crime. The natural and probable consequences doctrine allowed the aider and abettor  to be convicted of the attempted murder because the other crime he intended to aid and abet could lead to the attempted murder.

Aiders and abettors who never had intent to kill but were convicted of attempted murder because of the natural and probable consequences doctrine may be eligible for SB 775 relief.

Filing for relief under SB 775

Petitions should be filed in the trial court of the county of conviction.

A petitioner may ask for  lawyer to represent them in a resentencing proceeding.

Copies of the petition should be sent to the district attorney of the county of conviction and to the private attorney or the public defender who represented the defendant.

Penal Code section 1170.95, provides the structure for processing the petitions. The court must appoint an attorney if requested.  The district attorney will be ordered to file a response brief within 60 days. Petitioner’s attorney is allowed to file a reply brief in 30 days. Deadlines can be extended for good cause.

After briefing, the judge holds a hearing to decide if  a prima facie showing form eligibility for relief was made.   An order to show cause will be issued if a prima  facie showing of eligibility for relief was made. A hearing will be held 60 days after the order to show cause at which the prosecutor will have to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the petitioner could still be found guilty of murder (in a manslaughter case) or attempted murder under today’s law.

If the prosecutor cannot show  guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, then the petitioner is entitled to be resentenced

If the court declines to make an order to show cause, it shall provide a statement fully proving the reasons for its decision. Denials of  relief at the prima facie stage or at the resentencing phase may be appealed within 60 days of the denial.

SB 775-Felony murder: resentencing-Key provisions

 This bill expands “the authorization to allow a person who was convicted of murder under any theory under which malice is imputed to a person based solely on that person’s participation in a crime, attempted murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine, or who was convicted of manslaughter when the prosecution was allowed to proceed on a theory of felony murder or murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine, to apply to have their sentence vacated and be resentenced if, among other things, the complaint, information, or indictment was filed to allow the prosecution to proceed under a theory of felony murder, murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine or other theory under which malice is imputed to a person based solely on that person’s participation in a crime, or attempted murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine.”

 “This bill would require a court to hold a prima facie hearing to determine whether the petitioner has made a prima facie case for relief. The bill would require the court to appoint counsel, upon the petitioner’s request, when receiving a petition in which the required information is set forth or readily ascertainable by the court. The bill would require a court that declines to make an order to show cause to provide a statement fully setting forth its reasons for doing so.”

The Legislature finds and declares that this legislation does all of the following:

(a) Clarifies that persons who were convicted of attempted murder or manslaughter under a theory of felony murder and the natural probable consequences doctrine are permitted the same relief as those persons convicted of murder under the same theories.

(b) Codifies the holdings of People v. Lewis (2021) 11 Cal.5th 952, 961-970, regarding petitioners’ right to counsel and the standard for determining the existence of a prima facie case.

(c) Reaffirms that the proper burden of proof at a resentencing hearing under this section is proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

(d) Addresses what evidence a court may consider at a resentencing hearing (clarifying the discussion in People v. Lewis, supra, at pp. 970-972).

1170.95. (a) A person convicted of felony murder or murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine or other theory under which malice is imputed to a person based solely on that person’s participation in a crime, attempted murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine, or manslaughter may file a petition with the court that sentenced the petitioner to have the petitioner’s murder, attempted murder, or manslaughter conviction vacated and to be resentenced on any remaining counts when all of the following conditions apply:

(1) A complaint, information, or indictment was filed against the petitioner that allowed the prosecution to proceed under a theory of felony murder, murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine or other theory under which malice is imputed to a person based solely on that person’s participation in a crime, or attempted murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine.

(2) The petitioner was convicted of murder, attempted murder, or manslaughter following a trial or accepted a plea offer in lieu of a trial at which the petitioner could have been convicted of murder or attempted murder.

(3) The petitioner could not presently be convicted of murder or attempted murder because of changes to Section 188 or 189 made effective January 1, 2019.

 

 

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