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Name: People v. Palacios (2024) 101 Cal.App.5th 942
Case #: B324572
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 2 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 05/03/2024

At defendant’s PC 1172.6(d)(3) hearing, the trial court did not err by declining to consider whether defendant’s confession was voluntary before admitting it into evidence, where the voluntariness issue was not raised in the underlying trial. Section 1172.6(d)(3) provides a general rule that admissibility of evidence at a resentencing hearing is “governed by the Evidence Code,” but it exempts evidence previously admitted at any prior hearing or trial that is “admissible under current law.” The court agreed with People v. Davenport (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 1150 that the most natural reading of the phrase “admissible under current law” is that the basis…

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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…

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Name: People v. Underwood (2024) 99 Cal.App.5th 303
Case #: A162356
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 01/30/2024

Substantial evidence did not support trial court’s finding that petitioner acted with intent to kill or reckless indifference to human life where petitioner was present at the scene of a mugging but there was no evidence he knew his co-participant was armed or would use deadly force. Underwood was convicted of felony murder based on his participation in a robbery. He later sought resentencing under Penal Code section 1172.6. The trial court denied the petition after a (d)(3) hearing, finding that Underwood both directly aided and abetted the murder and that he was a major participant in the robbery who…

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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…

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Name: People v. Reyes (2023) 97 Cal.App.5th 292
Case #: F085582
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 11/16/2023

A defendant who entered a plea to murder after Senate Bill No. 1437 became effective is not entitled to resentencing under Penal Code section 1172.6. In 2021, Reyes pleaded no contest to second degree murder. The parties stipulated that a factual basis for the plea existed from the police reports. About 15 months into his prison term, Reyes petitioned for resentencing in the trial court, stating he could not now be convicted of murder based on SB 1437's changes to the law in 2019. After briefing on the issue, the petition was denied because Reyes’s conviction occurred after the effective…

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Name: Sandoval v. Superior Court (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 1274
Case #: H050633
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 09/29/2023

A Penal Code section 1172.6 hearing conducted after reversal on appeal and remand is not a “new trial” under Code of Civil Procedure section 170.6, and therefore petitioner is not entitled to a postappeal peremptory challenge of the judge. In 2019, Sandoval filed a petition for resentencing under section 1170.95 (now 1172.6) and the trial court denied the petition after an evidentiary hearing. The Court of Appeal reversed and remanded the matter for reconsideration. On remand, the case was assigned to the same trial judge and Sandoval filed a peremptory challenge pursuant to section 170.6 seeking to disqualify the judge.…

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Name: People v. Davenport (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 1150
Case #: A165093
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 09/27/2023

During petitioner’s Penal Code section 1172.6(d)(3) hearing, the trial court properly admitted the preliminary hearing testimony of a witness to the crime without requiring the prosecution to show the witness was unavailable. In 2007, Davenport pleaded no contest to second degree murder with a personal use firearm enhancement for a shooting death. Davenport petitioned for resentencing under Penal Code section 1170.95 (now section 1172.6). At the (d)(3) hearing, the trial court found that Davenport was the actual killer and was ineligible for resentencing. On appeal, Davenport argued the trial court erroneously admitted the preliminary hearing testimony of a witness to…

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Name: People v. Burns (2023) 95 Cal.App.5th 862
Case #: D080779
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 09/21/2023

Petitioner could not use Penal Code section 1172.6 proceedings to resurrect a jury instruction claim (based on former CALCRIM No. 400) that should have been raised in his 2013 direct appeal. In 2010, Burns was convicted of a first degree murder based on his participation with a codefendant in a gang-related shooting. The jury in his case was instructed using a former and now-disapproved version of CALCRIM No. 400. At the time of Burns’s direct appeal, opinions warned that the “equally guilty” language of CALCRIM No. 400 might mislead jurors in some circumstances by suggesting that once they decide the…

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Name: Torres v. Superior Court (2023) 94 Cal.App.5th 497
Case #: C097144
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 08/15/2023

A remand for further resentencing proceedings pursuant to Penal Code section 1172.6 does not constitute a remand for a “new trial,” thus no peremptory challenge of the prior judge is permitted under Code of Civil Procedure section 170.6. In 2011, Torres agreed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter, in addition to other charges. In 2019, she filed a request for resentencing pursuant to section 1172.6, which was summarily denied. On direct appeal, the court reversed the denial. On remand, Torres sought to peremptorily challenge the assigned judge who had originally denied her request for resentencing. The challenge was ultimately denied,…

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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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