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Name: People v. Hurtado (2023) 89 Cal.App.5th 887
Case #: B319381
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 03/27/2023
Summary

Where appellant was the lone actor convicted by a jury of attempted murder, the summary denial of his petition for resentencing under Penal Code section 1172.6 was “harmless error.” Hurtado was convicted by jury of attempted murder, with a personal use firearm enhancement, among other crimes. In 2022, he filed a petition for resentencing under section 1172.6. The trial court summarily denied his petition. Held: Affirmed. Here, the trial court did not comply with the statutory requirements under section 1172.6, as it did not appoint counsel, set a briefing schedule, or hold a hearing before denying the petition. However, Hurtado was not eligible for relief because the record demonstrated that he alone attempted to commit murder. Applying the Watson harmless error standard, the Court of Appeal concluded there was no reasonable probability Hurtado would have obtained a more favorable result if the trial court had appointed counsel or permitted briefing. [Editor’s Note: The Court of Appeal stated that, in this case, “harmless error” is a misnomer because “the trial court committed no error. But in cases like this one, the harmless error doctrine provides a reasonable method to avoid protracted hearings in past cases that are final and should stay that way. This also frees overburdened courts to decide current cases. We hope the Legislature solves this anomaly.”]

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/B319381.PDF