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Name: People v. Reyes (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 292
Case #: F085582
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/16/2023

A defendant who entered a plea to murder after Senate Bill No. 1437 became effective is not entitled to resentencing under Penal Code section 1172.6. In 2021, Reyes pleaded no contest to second degree murder. The parties stipulated that a factual basis for the plea existed from the police reports. About 15 months into his prison term, Reyes petitioned for resentencing in the trial court, stating he could not now be convicted of murder based on SB 1437’s changes to the law in 2019. After briefing on the issue, the petition was denied because Reyes’s conviction occurred after the effective date of SB 1437. Held: Affirmed. Under section 1172.6, defendants may seek resentencing if they were convicted of murder based on a now-invalid theory of imputed malice. When Reyes’s criminal proceeding was initiated, the prosecution was precluded from proving the murder charge under a theory of imputed malice. Additionally, an essential prerequisite to relief under section 1172.6 is a showing that the petitioner could not presently be convicted of murder or attempted murder “because of changes” brought by SB 1437. Since Reyes was convicted under current law, he cannot make this showing. [Editor’s Note: The court did not discuss Senate Bill No. 775 in this case.]