Skip to content
Name: People v. Lezama (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 583
Case #: G062075
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/22/2024

Individuals who pled guilty to manslaughter after statutory amendments that eliminated imputed malice theories of murder liability are not eligible for resentencing under Penal Code section 1172.6. Defendant was originally charged with murder in 2017 and entered a plea to voluntary manslaughter in mid-2019. His section 1172.6 petition for resentencing was denied at the prima facie stage because the court found defendant had pled guilty to manslaughter after theories of imputed malice were eliminated by SB 1437. He appealed. Held: Affirmed. Under section 1172.6, as amended by SB 775, a person convicted of manslaughter is eligible for resentencing if, among other criteria,…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Estrada (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 328
Case #: B324576
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 8
Opinion Date: 04/09/2024

Trial court erred in denying Penal Code section 1172.6 petition at the prima facie stage where relying on the preliminary hearing transcripts to deny relief required the court to engage in impermissible factfinding. At a preliminary hearing in 2017, a detective testified that Estrada admitted he stabbed victim 1 “two or three times” and that he kicked victim 2 in the face and stomped on his head. Beyond Estrada, there was also evidence of two people with blood on their clothes, one of whom carried a box cutter.  Estrada pleaded no contest to voluntary manslaughter and attempted murder, and admitted…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Beaudreaux (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 1227
Case #: A166001
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 03/28/2024

Trial court erred when it denied second Penal Code section 1172.6 petition at the prima facie stage without appointing counsel, but the error was harmless because the record established petitioner was the actual killer. After the California Supreme Court’s decision in People v. Lewis (2021) 11 Cal.5th 952 and the enactment of Senate Bill No. 775, Beaudreaux filed a second section 1172.6 petition for resentencing for his first degree murder conviction that was based on a felony murder theory. The trial court denied the petition at the prima facie stage without appointing counsel and Beaudreaux appealed. Held: Affirmed. The Court…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Morris (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 1016
Case #: G061916
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 03/22/2024

A person who, with an intent to kill, directly commits or aids and abets an enumerated felony in which a death occurs commits the actus reus necessary for felony murder under the amended felony-murder statute (Pen. Code, § 189(e)).  In 1987, during a robbery committed by two men, one victim was killed and another victim was raped. At defendant’s 2013 trial, the jury was instructed on premeditated and deliberate murder, the former felony-murder rule, and aiding and abetting a felony murder. Defendant was convicted of first degree murder, with three special circumstances findings, each of which required an intent to…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Hollywood (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 66 — Depublished
Case #: B323018
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 02/28/2024
Subsequent History: Review denied and depublished 5/15/2024 (S284451)

Trial court properly denied Penal Code section 1172.6 petition at the prima facie stage because the record showed petitioner aided and abetted a kidnapping with intent to kill. Hollywood was convicted of first degree murder and kidnapping, and the jury found true a special circumstance allegation that the murder occurred during the commission of a kidnapping and with intent to kill. He later filed a section 1172.6 petition for resentencing, which was denied at the prima facie stage. On appeal, Hollywood argued that the record of conviction did not establish the actus reus requirement in section 189(e)(2)—that he aided and…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Mares (2024) 99 Cal.App.5th 1158
Case #: E080611
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 02/23/2024

Trial court properly denied Penal Code section 1172.6 petition at the prima facie stage because the record of conviction unambiguously precluded petitioner’s assertion that he could not be convicted today because of the changes made by Senate Bill No. 1437. Mares pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter after admitting he stabbed a person during a one-on-one fight. He later filed a section 1172.6 petition, which was denied at the prima facie stage. Mares appealed, arguing the trial court erred by relying on the preliminary hearing transcript to engage in factfinding to determine he was the actual killer and by requiring him…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Gaillard (2024) 99 Cal.App.5th 1206
Case #: D082071
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 02/26/2024

Defendant’s guilty plea for aiding and abetting voluntary manslaughter did not conclusively establish his ineligibility for relief under Penal Code section 1172.6 at the prima facie stage. Defendant appealed from the denial (at the prima facie stage) of his section 1172.6 petition for resentencing on a 2014 voluntary manslaughter conviction. He had admitted that he aided and abetted the voluntary manslaughter. The record of conviction did not include any of the underlying facts because defendant pleaded guilty before the preliminary hearing. Held: Reversed. First, the trial court erred to the extent it ruled that “if you’re an aider and abettor,…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Curiel (2023) 15 Cal.5th 433
Case #: S272238
Court: CA Supreme Court
Opinion Date: 11/27/2023

In Penal Code section 1172.6 proceedings, a prior jury finding of intent to kill does not conclusively establish that the petitioner is ineligible for relief at the prima facie stage because intent to kill does not establish any valid theory of liability by itself. In 2006, a jury convicted Curiel of first degree murder and found true a gang-murder special circumstance allegation based on evidence that Curiel’s companion shot and killed a person during an altercation. After the enactment of Senate Bill No. 1437, Curiel filed a petition for resentencing under Penal Code section 1170.95 (now 1172.6) alleging that he…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Berry-Vierwinden (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 921
Case #: D081861
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/06/2023
Subsequent History: Modified 12/26/2023

A Penal Code section 1172.6 petitioner cannot establish a prima facie case for relief by asserting that the jury instructions permitted conviction on a theory of imputed malice that was already prohibited even before the enactment of Senate Bill No. 1437. In 2010, defendant was convicted of first degree murder by means of lying in wait. In 2022, he filed a section 1172.6 petition alleging that he was eligible for relief under amendments to the law made by Senate Bill No. 775, in that the instructions given at trial allowed the jury to convict him of murder by imputing malice…

View Full Summary
Name: People v. Allen (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 389
Case #: B324207
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 6
Opinion Date: 10/26/2023
Subsequent History: Modified and ordered published 11/20/2023

Trial court correctly found defendant ineligible for Penal Code section 1172.6 relief as a matter of law, where the jury was instructed on both direct aiding and abetting and conspiracy. After a member of his gang was shot, defendant Allen and fellow gang members drove around rival gang territory looking for people to shoot. They shot two men (mistakenly believing they were rival gang members), killing one. Prosecutors charged Allen with murder and attempted murder, alleging he was liable either as an aider and abettor or a coconspirator, and the trial court instructed on both theories of liability. There were no…

View Full Summary