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True Finding on Gang-Killing Special Circumstance and Chiu Error / Harmless Error Review

Case Name: In re Lopez (Sept. 25, 2019) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 1/15/2020
Case #: S258912/A152748

(1) Does a true finding on a gang-killing special circumstance (Pen. Code, §190.2, subd. (a)(22)) render Chiu error (People v. Chiu (2014) 59 Cal.4th 155) harmless? (2) To what extent or in what manner, if any, may a reviewing court consider the evidence in favor of a legally valid theory in assessing whether it is clear beyond a reasonable doubt that the jury based its verdict on the valid theory, when the record contains indications that the jury considered the invalid theory? (See People v. Aledamat (2019) 8 Cal.5th 1.)

On 12/22/2021, the court directed the parties to file supplemental briefs addressing the significance, if any, of Assembly Bill No. 333 (Stats. 2021, Ch. 699) to the issues presented in this case.

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

  • People v. Corder (B261370) [nonpub. opn.], review granted 7/20/2022 (S274705)
  • People v. Glukhoy (2022) 77 Cal.App.5th 576, review granted 7/27/2022 (S274727)