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Friday, November 11, 2022

10/18/2022 People v. Hardin: Youth Offender (under 26) with LWOP are still entitled to Franklin Hearing.

 

People v. Hardin , District: 2 DCA , Division: 7 , Case #: B315434 Opinion Date: 10/18/2022 

Case Holding: 

Denying a youth offender parole hearing to individuals sentenced to LWOP for offenses committed when they were between the ages of 18 and 25 violates equal protection.

 In 1990, Hardin, then 25 years of age, was convicted of special-circumstance felony murder and sentenced to LWOP. In 2021, Hardin filed a motion seeking to develop a record for an eventual youth offender parole hearing (a.k.a Franklin Hearing). The trial court denied the request, finding Hardin was statutorily ineligible for a youth offender parole hearing under Penal Code section 3051, subdivision (h). Hardin appealed, arguing that section 3051 violated his right to equal protection. 

Held: Reversed and remanded. 

An individual convicted of an offense committed when he was a young adult (25 years old or younger) and for which the sentence is LWOP, is not eligible for a youth offender parole hearing (Pen. Code, § 3051, subd. (h)) or otherwise entitled to parole consideration. In contrast, an individual convicted of an offense committed when he was a young adult, and for which the sentence is an indeterminate term of 25 years to life, is eligible for release on parole at a youth offender parole hearing at the beginning of his 25th year of incarceration. (Pen. Code, § 3051, subd. (b)(3).) 

After analyzing section 3051 and relevant case law, the Court of Appeal concluded that young adult offenders sentenced to LWOP are similarly situated to all other young adult offenders for purposes of section 3051. The purpose of current section 3051 is that the distinctive attributes of youth, which mitigate culpability and offer the possibility of growth and change, apply equally to young adults up to age 25. Accordingly, there is no rational basis for the Legislature to exclude otherwise similarly situated offenders from a youth offender parole hearing based solely on the crime committed or the sentence imposed. 

Hardin is entitled to a youth offender parole hearing based on his right to equal protection and, as such, is also entitled to a hearing to assemble[Fn.1] information concerning his youth-related mitigating factors. 

 DISPOSITION
The order denying Hardin’s motion for a Franklin hearing is reversed. The cause is remanded with directions to schedule the hearing and to conduct all appropriate further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

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Fn1

Recognizing that gathering information on youth-related mitigating factors for a youth offender parole hearing is a task more easily accomplished at the time of sentencing rather than decades later at a parole hearing, the Supreme Court in People v. Franklin (2016) 63 Cal.4th 261, 283-284 held a defendant eligible for such a hearing must be permitted at the time of sentencing to make a record of those factors, a proceeding that has since  become known as a Franklin proceeding. The Court in In re Cook (2019) 7 Cal.5th 439, 458 held a juvenile offender with a final judgment could move in a postjudgment proceeding under section 1203.01 (rather than through a petition for a writ of habeas corpus) to present evidence of youth-related factors.
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NOTE:  The Court of Appeal concluded that distinguishing between juvenile and young adult offenders sentenced to LWOP does not violate equal protection. (2) The court noted that the Legislature may decide the youth parole eligibility date for a young adult sentenced to LWOP should be different from the 25th year of incarceration.]


The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B315434.PDF 

 

- Thank you for CCAP's summary of the HARDIN case.

Friday, October 7, 2022

CDCR has collaborated with trans METRO to provide free bus transportation to all 34 adult prisons- California

This October post is just a quick IMPORTANT ANNOUNCEMENT for all the Families of the Incarcerated.  

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 The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has collaborated with Transmetro to provide free bus transportation to all 34 adult prisons in California as part of the department's commitment to enhancing access to visitation for incarcerated people and their loved ones.

TransMETRO is hosting the bus trip under a contract with CDCR. TransMETRO's ride-request system has been updated. To request a bus trip please submit an e-mail to: cdcr@transmetro.org up to three weeks before your visit. 

Please include the following information in your email: 

 • First and last name of any visitor(s) accompanying you on the trip 

 • First and last name of incarcerated person you are visiting. Please include CDCR number if known

 • Name of prison you are visiting. Use CDCR's Inmate Locator to verify the location in which your loved one resides. 

 • Date of visit 

 • Region you would like to be picked up from: 

        o Central: Riverside, Pasadena, Lancaster 

        o Southern: San Diego, Long Beach, Bakersfield 

        o Northern: Redding, Chico, Sacramento, Stockton 

        o Bay Area: Richmond, Oakland, San Leandro, San Jose Seats are reserved on a first-come, first-                serve basis. 

Please visit the Frequently Asked Questions section below for answers to all of your questions regarding riding transMETRO. A week prior to a scheduled trip, confirmed riders will receive an email with important details including pickup and drop-off locations and times. 

Potential visitors must also separately make a visiting appointment via the Visitation Scheduling Application (VSA). Directions for utilizing VSA to make a visiting reservation can be found here. 

 

David Maldonado 

Deputy Chief, Office of External Affairs (OEA)

 Office of Public and Employee Communication (OPEC) 

CA. Dept. of Corrections & Rehabilitation (CDCR)

Monday, August 29, 2022

SB 1437: People v. Vang , (8/5/2022): the meaning of the term “actual killer.” District: 3 DCA , Case #: C090365

This article is republish (for educational purposes) from the CCAP organization. Central California Appellate Program (CCAP) is a nonprofit law office. 

A big thank you for the analysis of the case below. 

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  People v. Vang, District: 3 DCA , Case #: C090365 Opinion Date: 8/5/2022  

 Case Holding: The term “actual killer” in Penal Code section 189, subdivision (e), means the person who personally committed the act that directly caused the victim’s death. Vang was convicted of numerous offenses, including the first degree felony murder of his wife with a kidnapping-murder special circumstance. The prosecution’s theory was that Vang kidnapped his wife, who was killed when she jumped out of his moving truck to escape. The prosecution argued that even if Vang did not personally kill the victim he still was liable for her murder because he committed an inherently dangerous felony—the kidnapping—that proximately caused her death. 

On appeal, Vang argued the jury was misinstructed to allow conviction based on an invalid theory of general causation. Held: Reversed and remanded. Senate Bill No. 1437 narrowed the circumstances under which a defendant can be convicted under the felony-murder rule. It amended section 189 by adding subdivision (e), which provides that a participant in the perpetration of a qualifying felony is liable for felony murder only if he is the actual killer, acted with the intent to kill, or was a major participant in the underlying felony who acted with reckless indifference to human life, as described in Penal Code section 190.2, subdivision (d). 

The dispute in this case was over the meaning of the term “actual killer.” The legislative history of SB 1437 supports the conclusion that the Legislature understood the term “actual killer” to mean the person who “personally” commits the homicidal act. Here, the jury instructions did not provide a proper definition of “actual killer” and allowed the jury to find Vang guilty of felony murder, and to find the special circumstance true, if it determined he “caused” the victim’s death based on general causation principles. This was an invalid legal theory and reversal was required. 

Additionally, because the evidence was insufficient to support the theory of guilt on which the jury was instructed, Vang cannot be retried on the felony-murder theory or the felony-murder special circumstance.

 [CCAP Editor’s Note: The court expressed no opinion on whether double jeopardy would prohibit Vang’s retrial for murder under another theory.] 

 

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C090365.PDF