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PC 1172.6–Does Sufficient Evidence Support Trial Court’s Finding Defendant Acted With Reckless Indifference to Human Life?

Case Name: People v. Emanuel (May 12, 2023, H049147) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 9/13/2023
Case #: S280551/H049147
Last Updated: October 25, 2023

Does sufficient evidence support the trial court’s finding that defendant acted with reckless indifference to human life and therefore was ineligible for resentencing pursuant to Penal Code section 1172.6?

[Editor’s Note: Emanuel was convicted of first degree felony murder. His codefendant Whitley shot the victim (Cody) during a drug deal that turned into a robbery. After a section 1172.6(d)(3) hearing, the trial court denied Emanuel’s resentencing petition, finding he was a major participant in the underlying robbery and that he acted with reckless indifference to human life. The Court of Appeal concluded that substantial evidence supported the trial court’s determinations: “Considering the totality of the circumstances together, the trial court’s determination that Emanuel acted with reckless indifference to human life is supported by the evidence that he (1) remained in close physical proximity to the crime; (2) did not take the opportunity to minimize the risk of violence during the robbery when Whitley pulled out a gun and Cody refused to give up the marijuana; and (3) failed to either render assistance to Cody or call for help after he was shot.” The Court of Appeal’s unpublished opinion is available here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/nonpub/H049147.PDF.]

Review on this issue has also been granted with briefing deferred in:

Second District

  • People v. Jones (B320040) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 9/27/2023 (S281508)
  • People v. Eastland (B320193) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 10/11/2023 (S281708)
  • In re D.L. (B321015) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 10/25/2023 (S281938)

Fifth District

  • People v. Pantoja (F083581) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 9/27/2023 (S281228)
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