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Name: People v. Silva
Case #: F083248
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/18/2023

Trial court did not err in denying Penal Code section 1172.6 petition after finding petitioner was guilty of second degree as an aider and abettor under an implied malice theory of murder liability. In 2014, a jury convicted petitioner of second degree murder with a gang enhancement, and active participation in a street gang. In 2019, Silva petitioned the trial court for resentencing pursuant to Penal Code section 1170.95 (now section 1172.6). After an evidentiary hearing, the trial court denied the petition, finding petitioner guilty of murder as an aider and abettor who acted with implied malice. Silva appealed, arguing SB 1437 eliminated implied malice as a valid theory of murder liability for aiders and abettors. Held: Affirmed. In People v. Gentile (2020) 10 Cal.5th 830, the California Supreme Court explained that, notwithstanding SB 1437’s elimination of natural and probable consequences liability for second degree murder, an aider and abettor who does not expressly intend to aid a killing can still be convicted of second degree murder if the person knows that his or her conduct endangers the life of another and acts with conscious disregard for life. This language clearly suggests an aider and abettor can be liable for implied malice murder as a theory independent of the natural and probable consequences doctrine. The Court of Appeal here agreed with People v. Powell (2021) 63 Cal.App.5th 689 and other opinions and concluded that implied malice remains a valid theory of liability for aiders and abettors to murder.