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1170.95 Defendant Requires Evidentiary Hearing

People v. Arreguin Docket: B304838 (Second Appellate District), Opinion Date: March 9, 2023. Defendant appealed an order denying his petition for resentencing pursuant to former Penal Code section 1170.95. The Second Appellate District reversed the order and remanded for an evidentiary hearing pursuant to section 1172.6. The court reasoned that Section 1172.6 authorizes a defendant “convicted of felony murder or murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine” to challenge his murder conviction if, as a threshold matter, he makes a “prima facie showing” of entitlement to relief. This, in turn, requires a showing that, among other things, he “could not presently be convicted of murder” under the amendments to the murder statutes that became effective on January 1, 2019. These statutes, even as amended, still authorize a murder conviction, however, based on murder committed by someone else in the course of a jointly committed felony as long as the defendant “was a major participant in the underlying felony and acted with reckless indifference to human life.” Here, Defendant’s special circumstance finding was made prior to Banks and Clark. Defendant is entitled to an evidentiary hearing. However, the trial court may rule after an evidentiary hearing.

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