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Name: Nijmeddin v. Superior Court (2023) 90 Cal.App.5th 77
Case #: H050870
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/05/2023
Summary

Trial court erred by failing to grant inmate compassionate release where he was presumptively entitled relief and there was not a specific finding he poses an unreasonable risk of committing a “super strike” offense. CDCR recommended that Nijmeddin be granted compassionate release pursuant to Penal Code section 1172.2 due to his advanced incurable pancreatic cancer and other comorbid conditions. His life expectancy was between three to six months. The trial court denied the request on the ground that Nijmeddin posed an unreasonable risk of danger. Nijmeddin filed a petition for writ of mandate, and the Attorney General conceded error. Held: Peremptory writ of mandate issued, ordering the trial court to vacate its decision, with urgency, and enter a new order recalling the sentence. Assembly Bill No. 960 (effective 1/1/2023) added section 1172.2 and amended the procedures for compassionate release requests from CDCR. Such requests apply to “defendants who have ‘serious and advanced illness with an end-of-life trajectory.’” Section 1172.2(b) creates a presumption favoring recall and resentencing, unless a court finds “the defendant is an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety [i.e., commission of a super strike felony].” The Court of Appeal held that the trial court abused its discretion because Nijmeddin was presumptively entitled to compassionate release and the trial court made no specific findings as to his unreasonable risk of committing a super strike offense, but rather expressed “a generalized concern about [Nijmeddin’s] ‘ability to continue to commit crimes.’”

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/H050870.PDF