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Name: People v. Medrano
Case #: B306749
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 08/24/2021
Summary

Penal Code section 1170.95 relief is unavailable to a petitioner concurrently convicted of first degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder where both convictions involve the same victim. In 1991, Medrano was convicted of two counts of first degree murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and other offenses. A multiple victim special circumstance was found true. In 2019, he filed a petition for resentencing alleging he was convicted pursuant to the felony murder rule or the natural and probable consequences doctrine, and could not now be convicted of murder because of the changes made to Penal Code sections 188 and 189 by Senate Bill No. 1437. The petition was denied and Medrano appealed. Held: Affirmed. “Section 1170.95 was added to the Penal Code by S.B. 1437, which modified the felony-murder rule and eliminated the natural and probable consequences doctrine.” It potentially affords relief to defendants convicted of murder under one of those theories. “Conviction of conspiracy to commit first degree murder shows, as a matter of law, that the ‘target offense’ is murder, not some other lesser offense.” In Medrano’s case, the instructions given to the jury made clear that a conviction for conspiracy to commit first degree murder required a specific intent to commit murder. Thus, the jury did “not base its conviction of the target offense—first degree murder—on the natural and probable consequences doctrine because that doctrine applies to unintended, nontarget offenses.” Nor was Medrano convicted of felony murder, as the jury was not instructed on this theory and the evidence did not show the commission of a section 189, predicate felony necessary for application of the felony-murder rule. The resentencing petition was properly denied.