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2nd Appellate District Reverses 1170.95 Denial

People v. DeHuff Court: California Courts of Appeal, Docket: B305374 (Second Appellate District), Opinion Date: April 23, 2021. The Court of Appeal reversed the trial court's order denying the petition for resentencing pursuant to Penal Code section 1170.95 and Senate Bill No. 1437. Defendant contends that the trial court erred by denying his petition at the second stage of section 1170.95 subdivision (c) analysis when the trial court ruled that, although the jury was presented with two theories of liability—one valid (implied malice) and the other invalid (second degree felony murder)—substantial evidence supported a jury finding that defendant committed the killing with malice aforethought, and he was therefore ineligible for relief as a matter of law. The court concluded that there is substantial evidence in the record to support a finding that defendant committed second degree murder on an implied malice theory, but that is not sufficient to preclude defendant from relief as a matter of law. Accordingly, the court remanded with directions to issue an order to show cause under section 1170.95, subdivision (c) and hold a hearing pursuant to section 1170.95, subdivision (d) to determine whether to vacate defendant's murder conviction and recall his sentence and resentence him.

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