Monday, October 18, 2021

New Laws (SB 81, AB 518, SB 775) & Supreme Court Interpretation Of 1170.95 Statute (aka SB 1437)

A few month ago, the Supreme Court in People v. Lewis (2021) 11 Cal.5th 952 interpreted Penal Code section 1170.95, which was enacted in Senate Bill 1437, 2018 legislation narrowing murder liability under the felony murder theory and the natural and probable consequences doctrine. 

  If any inmates (or their attorneys) have winning Superior Court SB1437s cases between now and the end of the year consider putting off the resentencing until 1/1/22 to get the benefit of some of the new laws. 

 *** SB 81 (creates a set of guidelines for courts that would curb the use of sentence enhancements in nonviolent offenses unless a judge determines that they are necessary to protect public safety ) has many new considerations which might way in favor of dismissing long enhancements. 

 *** AB 518 amends PC 654 (an act or omission that is punishable in different ways by different provisions of law); stating informally that the judge does not have to pick the longest term for the same act anymore. 

*** SB 775 (SB 775 clarifies existing law to explicitly include voluntary manslaughter and attempted murder conversation as eligible for relief under SB 1437) affirms that the max parole period after resentencing is 2 years, down from 3 years. 

The Governor signed these new laws that amend statutes and will be effective January 2022. 

 For instance SB 775: The bill says that it “[c]odifies 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” and that it “[a]ddresses what evidence a court may consider at a resentencing hearing (clarifying the discussion in People v. Lewis, supra, at pp. 970-972).”  

At present, there are many cases on the court’s docket holding for Lewis. SB 775 may affect those cases. If it does, the court would hold off on disposing of those grant-and-holds so that NOW any Reconsideration orders would most likely include references to both the new legislation and Lewis. Stay tuned. 


RECOMMENDATIONs given the new laws effective 1/1/2022:                                                          (thank you to the CCAP (appellate group) for the words of wisdom) 

If anybody has winning superior court 1437s cases between now and the end of the year consider putting off the resentencing until 1/1/22 to get the benefit of some of the new laws (SB 81, AB 518, SB 775), as described above. 

Other laws or cases to keep in mind that If the inmate was under 18 at the time of the crime the People v. Montes: the case says that when somebody is resentenced they get the benefit of the new laws - specifically Prop. 57 which repealed Prop 21, which allowed for the direct-file of juvenile offenders in the adult criminal justice system. Prop 21 placed the discretion of whether to prosecute a juvenile as an adult solely with the prosecutor. However, under Prop 57, the judge retains the decision as to whether a juvenile is better served in the juvenile justice system or the adult criminal justice system. 

Even if your client (inmate, or loved ones) is old now and was direct filed or had a prior transfer hearing you need to make a motion to transfer to juvenile court citing People v. Montes. Pre-Prop. 57 transfer hearings don't suffice because the burdens have changed and are now more juvenile friendly. (People v. Garcia (2018) 30 Cal.App.5th 316.) 

The case that judges were using to argue against juvenile transfer motions -- Federico -- is still pending in the Supreme Court, but People v. Montes was written by the author of Federico and the justice reversed himself with People v. Montes (10/7/21 new case).

 DO not let judges rely on Federico without arguing Montes. 

 Below is the People v. Montes case info URL address: case in the COA-4, Division 2:

(NOTE: you can cut-n-paste the URL address into your Navigator to get to the PDF case file.