SB 1437 Denial Improper if Based on Gun Enhancement?

Is having a true finding of using a firearm an automatic bar to relief under Penal Code § 1170.95 (SB 1437)? It certainly might seem so, as such relief is unavailable by statute to those who act with the intent to kill or who act with reckless disregard for the safety of others, or those who are the actual killer. However, as the following summary from a Second Appellate District Court case exemplifies, this sentence enhancement is not an automatic bar. To read this summary, please click on the following link –

Compassionate Release – Is Judge’s Discretion Limitless?

We have at least one person call our office every week asking about compassionate release, usually in the context of “he has served enough time – can’t they just let him come home?” The conversation then moves to proper grounds for resentencing and then their loved one’s health and the power of a judge to order a prisoner released under compassionate release. What is required for this? What can the judge really do? To read more about compassionate release, please click on the following link –

Is SB 1437 Unconstitutional Based on Conflict with Prop 7?

A common belief among prosecutors and judges is that Senate Bill 1437, by narrowing the scope of aider and abettor liability for felony murder, unconstitutionally amends Proposition 7 (the “Briggs Initiative”). This popular belief conveniently leads to 1437 petitions for resentencing being denied as a whole. This position, however, is wrong, according to the Second Appellate District, as summarized in the following article –

What is the Minimum Eligible Parole Date? How Reduced?

If someone is sentenced to an indeterminate sentence (i.e., fifteen years to life in prison), one is eligible for parole, with certain exceptions. When is the earliest time someone is eligible or “Minimum Eligible Parole Date (MEPD)?” The answer depends on several factors, as the following article explains. To read more about MEPD, please click on the following link –

If Eligible, When’s My Youth Offender Parole Hearing?

Not all Youth Offender Parole Hearings take place at the same period of time after one is sentenced. The number of years one must wait varies by the sentence imposed. To read about how it varies, please click on the following link –

Who is Eligible for a Youth Offender Parole Hearing?

Generally speaking, a person sentenced to 30 years or more in state prison (regarded as the “functional equivalent of a “life sentence” for purposes of eligibility for a Franklin hearing is sentenced for a crime that was committed at age 25 or under, with certain exceptions) is keenly interested in being granted parole at the earliest possible time, which is a Youth Offender Parole Hearing. What are the exceptions to being eligible for such a hearing? To read more about who is eligible, please click on the following link –

What’s Specific Intent to Assist a Criminal Street Gang?

When a gang member commits a violent crime against someone who is not in a gang, the prosecution often can call upon the testimony of a so-called gang expert to characterize such violence as being committed to promote, further or assist the gang. But what if the violence was distinguishable – it was personal and had no ulterior purpose to help a gang? That is the issue that faced the appellate court in the following case, summarized for you. To click on this summary, please click on the following link –

Intimidating a Witness and the Right to Represent Oneself

The following summary of a recent Second Appellate District ruling affirming a Norwalk Superior Court judge’s ruling to revoke a person’s in pro per status when he attempted to intimidate the victim from coming to court is a warning to anyone who plans to represent himself to engage in unethical conduct under the guise of representing oneself. The factual scenario is quite common, sadly so. Our summary, we think, is a good reminder of what cannot be done, even as an attorney. Please click on the following link to read the summary –

Carjacking is Not a Crime of Violence under USSG § 4A1.1?

Why is a prior conviction for carjacking under California law not a crime of violence under federal law for purposes of sentencing? The answer lies in the results of the categorical approach, wherein a court will compare the elements of one crime (carjacking) to the requirements of a crime of violence under federal law. If the state court crime requires more conduct than the federal requirements, it will not meet the federal definition because it includes more conduct than the federal requirements. To see this analysis in action, please click on the following link –

Premeditation Based on Natural and Probable Consequences?

The following summary of a recent Fourth Appellate District Court case is significant insofar as it shows the trial court erred in allowing a conviction for attempted murder based on the natural and probable consequences doctrine. Most criminal defense attorney would argue that attempted murder is a specific intent crime, so it could not arise anyways under a natural and probable consequences theory of murder. Instead, the prosecution would have to prove specific intent to commit murder, which would have to be through implied malice in committing a dangerous felony, which did not take place in this case. Indeed, the appellate court found that the underlying crime was just disturbing the peace. To read this case, which literally shows how in Orange County disturbing the peace can be attempted murder (sadly), please click on the following link – https://