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Name: People v. Del Rio (2023) 94 Cal.App.5th 47
Case #: D080369
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 08/02/2023

In petitioner’s Penal Code section 1172.6 proceedings, trial court violated his due process rights by redesignating murder convictions as a robbery without notice and opportunity to be heard. Del Rio, convicted of two first degree murders in 1978, filed a petition for resentencing under Penal Code section 1170.95 (now 1172.6). The record in his case was no longer available so, at the (d)(3) hearing, the prosecution was unable to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Del Rio was ineligible for resentencing. The trial court vacated the conviction, redesignated robbery as the basis for conviction, and resentenced Del Rio on the…

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Name: People v. Vance
Case #: E079750
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/07/2023
Subsequent History: Opn. modified 8/29/2023

When an appellate opinion is admitted at a Penal Code section 1172.6(d)(3) hearing without objection, the facts it recites constitute substantial evidence on which the trial court can rely. Vance’s section 1170.95 (now 1172.6) petition for resentencing in his first degree felony murder case was denied after a (d)(3) hearing. On appeal, he argued the trial court erred in relying upon the facts in the Court of Appeal’s opinion in the direct appeal. Held: Affirmed. Senate Bill No. 1437 narrowed the liability for murder and created a procedure whereby defendants who could no longer be convicted of murder could seek…

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Name: People v. Arnold (2023) 93 Cal.App.5th 376
Case #: B321031
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 07/11/2023

Trial court erred in denying defendant’s Penal Code section 1170.95 (now 1172.6) resentencing petition after finding he could still be convicted of murder for stabbing the victim, because the jury’s not true finding on a knife use allegation precluded this determination. In 1992, defendant was convicted of second degree murder after a man was stabbed to death in a street brawl with multiple people. He filed a section 1172.6 resentencing petition, which was summarily denied. This decision was reversed on appeal and, on remand, the trial court held a (d)(3) hearing. No new evidence was presented. The trial court denied…

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Name: People v. Cody (2023) 92 Cal.App.5th 87
Case #: G060218
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/11/2023
Subsequent History: Ordered published 5/31/2023

ordered published 5/31/2023

The trial court properly relied on trial transcripts at the Penal Code section 1172.6 evidentiary hearing. In 2012, a jury found Cody and a codefendant guilty of murder during a home invasion burglary/robbery and found true a felony-murder special-circumstance allegation. In 2016, a federal court found the trial court erred by failing to give the accomplice felony-murder special-circumstance jury instruction and that the error was prejudicial. The prosecutor elected not to retry the felony-murder special-circumstance allegation, and appellant was resentenced from LWOP to 25 years to life. Cody filed a section 1172.6 petition. After a (d)(3) hearing where…

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Name: People v. Montanez (2023) 91 Cal.App.5th 245
Case #: D079296
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/08/2023

Trial court did not err in denying Penal Code section 1170.95 (now 1172.6) petition where there was substantial evidence petitioner was a major participant in the underlying felonies who acted with reckless indifference to human life. In 2018, Montanez petitioned to vacate his felony murder conviction pursuant to section 1172.6. The trial court denied the petition after a (d)(3) hearing, finding that Montanez was a major participant in the underlying robbery and sex crimes who acted with reckless indifference to human life. He appealed. Held: Affirmed. After analyzing relevant case law, the Court of Appeal applied the Banks/Clark factors and…

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Name: People v. Oliver (2023) 90 Cal.App.5th 466
Case #: A161773
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 03/16/2023

The question of whether a defendant was a major participant who acted with reckless indifference to human life is a predominantly factual question reviewable for substantial evidence, and substantial evidence supported the trial court's findings in this case. Following a 1996 conviction for first degree murder with a felony-murder special circumstance for his role in a drug robbery/burglary resulting in death, Oliver filed a resentencing petition pursuant to former Penal Code section 1170.95 (now 1172.6) in 2019. The trial court denied the petition after a (d)(3) hearing, finding beyond a reasonable doubt that Oliver was a major participant in the…

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Name: People v. Werntz (2023) 90 Cal.App.5th 1093
Case #: D079771
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 04/27/2023

Trial court did not err in denying petitioner’s Penal Code section 1172.6 resentencing petition because substantial evidence supported the court’s finding that petitioner was guilty of second degree murder for failing to protect her child. In 2019, Werntz filed a section 1172.6 resentencing petition for her second degree murder conviction (the victim was her infant daughter). The trial court ultimately denied the petition after a (d)(3) hearing, finding that Werntz was guilty of implied malice murder as a direct aider and abettor for failing to protect her daughter from her partner’s abuse. On appeal, Werntz raised a number of issues,…

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Name: People v. Burgess (2023) 88 Cal.App.5th 592
Case #: C094813
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 02/23/2023

The evidence presented at the hearing on defendant’s resentencing petition (Pen. Code, § 1172.6) was insufficient to support a finding of attempted robbery. Burgess appealed the trial court’s denial of his resentencing petition, rendered after the court conducted an independent analysis of the record and evidence presented at a hearing. He argued that that the trial court’s factual findings revealed the crime of attempted theft by false pretenses and not attempted robbery (attempted robbery was the predicate felony to felony murder). Held: Reversed. After defendant was convicted in the underlying case, People v. Williams (2013) 57 Cal.4th 776 clarified the…

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