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Name: People v. Lewis
Case #: C097765
Opinion Date: 01/02/2024
Attorney: William G. Holzer

The Court of Appeal held the trial court erred in denying appellant’s Penal Code section 1172.6 petition at the prima facie stage. In denying the petition, the trial court relied on the opinion from appellant’s direct appeal, which held there was sufficient evidence to support the jury’s true finding on the robbery-murder special circumstance. However, although appellant’s trial happened after People v. Banks (2015) 61 Cal.4th 788 and People v. Clark (2016) 63 Cal.4th 522 were decided, the instructions on the special circumstance did not include the Banks/Clark factors. Accordingly, neither the jury’s true finding, nor the Court of Appeal’s prior conclusion that there was sufficient evidence to support that finding, precluded appellant’s eligibility for relief as a matter of law. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court’s order and remanded the matter for further proceedings under section 1172.6, subdivision (d).