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Name: People v. Gonzalez
Case #: B315921
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 01/20/2023
Summary

When the prosecution proves a defendant is guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt in Penal Code section 1172.6 proceedings, the trial court does not have the option of reducing a first degree murder conviction to second degree murder. Defendants were convicted of first degree murder based on their participation in a gang-related stabbing. In 2019, they filed section 1172.6 petitions for resentencing. After a hearing, the trial court found the defendants guilty of murder as direct aiders and abettors and denied the petitions. On appeal, defendants argued that even when the prosecution proves a defendant is guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt, section 1172.6 nevertheless requires a trial court to reduce a first degree murder conviction to second degree murder if it did not find the defendant committed the murder with deliberation and premeditation. Held: Affirmed. After briefly reviewing section 1172.6, the Court of Appeal concluded that a trial court has two options in adjudicating a section 1172.6 resentencing petition: “Deny the petition and leave in place the murder conviction or grant the petition and vacate the murder conviction and resentence the defendant on the remaining charges or target offense or underlying felony. Reducing a first degree murder conviction to second degree murder is not an option under section 1172.6.”

https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B315921.PDF