top of page

1170.95 Court: Special Circumstance Findings Cannot Be a Categorical Bar to Resentencing Relief

California v. Wilson Court: California Courts of Appeal, Docket: D078231 (Fourth Appellate District, Division One), Opinion Date: September 29, 2021. Appellant Thandiew Wilson was convicted by a jury in July 2002 of, among other things, murder with the special circumstance findings that it was committed during the commission or attempted commission of a robbery and a burglary. By finding the special circumstance allegations true, the jury necessarily found that Wilson either participated in the crimes with an intent to kill or was a major participant who acted with reckless indifference to human life. Wilson was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, plus 25 years to life for a gun enhancement. The Court of Appeal affirmed that judgment on appeal. Wilson appealed the summary denial of his petition for resentencing pursuant to California Penal Code section 1170.95 (Petition). The trial court denied the Petition in light of the jury’s special circumstance findings, which it deemed a categorical bar to resentencing relief. Recently, however, another panel of the Court of Appeal held that a felony murder special circumstance finding did not bar resentencing relief under section 1170.95 as a matter of law, having been persuaded by the reasoning of those Courts of Appeal that considered the issue after California v. Gomez, 52 Cal.App.5th 1 (2020). The Court’s review of that case law and the meaning of the terms “major participant” and “reckless indifference to human life” also persuaded the Court that special circumstance findings could not be a categorical bar to resentencing relief. Therefore, the Court reversed the order summarily denying the Petition, and remanded the case to the trial court for a determination on whether Wilson made a prima facile showing of entitlement to relief under section 1170.95.

Does your incarcerated loved one keep bugging you to copy legal paperwork and documents? Posse Solutions LLC is here for you! We provide the easiest and most secure document scanning & storage service available! Your loved one can send us their hard copy documents and we will digitally scan & store them in our cloud-based storage system. Then we will return their documents to you without worry via confidential legal mail. We can print them at your request, email them anywhere via pdf, and much more! Email us at for more information.

32 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page