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Name: People v. Superior Court (Gooden)
Case #: D075787
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/19/2019

Senate Bill No. 1437's substantial amendment of the felony murder rule and natural and probable consequences doctrine does not impermissibly alter prior voter initiatives (Propositions 7 and 115). In 1982, defendant Gooden was convicted of first degree felony murder for the death of a neighbor during a burglary. Defendant Dominguez was convicted of second degree murder in 1990 under the natural and probable consequences doctrine. In 2018, the Legislature passed SB 1437, which substantially restricted application of both the felony murder rule and the natural and probable consequences doctrine. Both defendants petitioned for resentencing. The prosecution moved to dismiss the…

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Name: People v. Lamoreaux
Case #: D075794
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 11/19/2019

SB 1437 (including the resentencing process established in Penal Code section 1170.95) does not violate the separation of powers doctrine by infringing on the executive's clemency power. In 2013, defendant was convicted of felony murder with a special circumstance finding. The special circumstance finding was reversed on direct appeal. After SB 1437 passed, defendant filed a petition for resentencing (Pen. Code, § 1170.95). The prosecution opposed the request, claiming that SB 1437 was unconstitutional. The trial court agreed with the prosecution and denied the petition. Defendant appealed. Held: Reversed. The California Constitution establishes three coequal branches of government: legislative,…

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Name: People v. Bucio
Case #: B299688
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 04/27/2020

Subsequent history: The California Supreme Court denied the People's petition for review. The remittitur has issued.

The Court of Appeal upheld SB 1437 against constitutional challenges based on Propositions 7 and 115, the separation of powers doctrine, and Marsy's Law. Bucio appealed an order dismissing her petition for resentencing pursuant to Penal Code section 1170.95 after the trial court found SB 1437 unconstitutional. It was undisputed that Bucio is eligible for relief if SB 1437 is constitutional. On appeal, the Ventura County District Attorney argued SB 1437 is unconstitutional because it (1) amends Propositions 7 and 115, (2) violates…

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Name: People v. Lopez
Case #: B300787
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/29/2020

SB 1437 did not unconstitutionally amend Proposition 7 or Proposition 115. Facing one count of murder committed for the benefit of a gang and three counts of attempted murder, Lopez pleaded no contest to one count of second degree murder. After SB 1437 passed, he filed a petition for resentencing under Penal Code section 1170.95. The trial court summarily denied the petition, finding that SB 1437 unconstitutionally amended two voter initiatives, Propositions 7 and 115. Lopez appealed. He argued, and the Attorney General agreed, that the trial court erred in finding SB 1437 unconstitutional. Held: Reversed and remanded. The Court…

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Name: People v. Alaybue
Case #: H047221
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/25/2020

The trial court erred in finding SB 1437 unconstitutional (the court addressed Propositions 7 and 115). In 2006, Alaybue pleaded no contest to two counts of second degree murder and two counts of attempted murder. In 2019, he petitioned the trial court to vacate his murder and attempted murder convictions under SB 1437. The trial court denied the petition, finding SB 1437 was unconstitutional because it impermissibly amended Propositions 7 and 115. The court also found SB 1437 did not apply to the crime of attempted murder. Alaybue appealed. Held: Reversed and remanded (as to murder convictions). Proposition 7…

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Name: People v. Solis
Case #: G057510
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/18/2020

SB 1437 does not impermissibly amend prior voter initiatives that increased the punishment for murder (Prop. 7) and augmented the list of predicate offenses giving rise to first degree felony-murder liability (Prop. 115). In 1997, Solis was convicted of second degree murder based on the natural and probable consequences doctrine after gang members he was with threw objects at a vehicle in which the victim was riding, killing the victim. After SB 1437 passed, Solis filed a petition for resentencing (Pen. Code, § 1170.95). The trial court denied the petition on the ground SB 1437 was unconstitutional, concluding SB 1437…

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Name: People v. Cruz
Case #: G057564
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/18/2012

SB 1437's substantial amendment of the felony murder rule and murder based on the natural and probable consequences doctrine is constitutional and does not impermissibly amend Proposition 7 or Proposition 115. In 2010, Cruz was convicted of second degree murder for the death of a man who was shot by one of Cruz's companions after Cruz and the victim engaged in a fist fight. The prosecution had pursued alternative theories of liability, including liability based on the natural and probable consequences doctrine. In 2018, the Legislature passed SB 1437, which substantially restricted application of both the felony murder rule and…

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Name: People v. Prado
Case #: G058172
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/26/2020

Trial court erred in finding SB 1437 unconstitutional (the court addressed Propositions 7 and 115). In 1999, Prado was found guilty of first degree murder by a jury, with a true finding on the allegation he was vicariously armed. In 2019, he filed a Penal Code section 1170.95 petition for resentencing. The trial court filed an order denying the petition, stating SB 1437 is unconstitutional. Prado appealed. Held: Reversed and remanded. A statute is either a legislative statute, a referendum statute, or an initiative statute, depending on how it was enacted. "The Legislature may amend or repeal an initiative statute…

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Name: People v. Johns
Case #: E072412
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 06/08/2020

Trial court erred in finding SB 1437 unconstitutional (the court addressed Proposition 7, Proposition 115, separation of powers principles, and Marsy's Law). Johns was convicted of murder based on his aiding and abetting a 1981 robbery. In 2018, Johns petitioned for relief under Penal Code section 1170.95. Even though the trial court found Johns had stated a prima facie case for relief, the court granted the prosecution's motion to strike the petition on the ground SB 1437 was unconstitutional as an unauthorized amendment of both Propositions 7 and 115. Held: Reversed. The Court of Appeal concluded: (1) SB 1437…

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Name: People v. Superior Court (Ferraro)
Case #: C090226
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 07/07/2020

SB 1437 did not unconstitutionally amend Proposition 7 or Proposition 115. In 1990, real parties in interest Ferraro and Hunter pleaded guilty to second degree murder based on the same incident. In 2019, they each filed a Penal Code section 1170.95 petition to obtain resentencing under SB 1437. The District Attorney filed motions opposing the petitions, arguing that SB 1437 unconstitutionally amended two prior initiatives, Propositions 7 and 115. The trial court denied the motions. The District Attorney petitioned for writ of mandate. Held: Petitions denied. The Court of Appeal joined the other courts that have addressed this issue…

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