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California Supreme Court Agrees to Hear Another SB 1437 Resentencing Case

The court granted review in another case interpreting a provision added by 2018’s Senate Bill No. 1437 that allows resentencing of some defendants convicted of felony murder or murder under a natural-and-probable-consequences theory. In People v. Strong, an unpublished Third District Court of Appeal opinion waded into a scrum of conflicting published cases — many, but not all, of which are grant-and-holds for People v. Lewis — and sided with the ones that concluded a jury’s felony-murder special circumstances finding precludes relief under a resentencing petition, unless the finding has first been successfully challenged by a habeas corpus petition.

The court recently granted review in People v. Duke to decide a different SB 1437 resentencing issue. Strong already has its own grant-and-holds. The court denied a pro per petition for review in People v. Harvey, but Justices Goodwin Liu and Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar recorded votes to grant. In an unpublished opinion, the Fourth District, Division One, affirmed a superior court’s ex parte declining to resentence the defendant as the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had recommended. The appellate court rejected arguments that the recommendation triggered a right for the defendant to be heard at a noticed hearing and that the defendant had a right to appointed counsel at a hearing. In January, Justice Joshua Groban alone recorded a dissenting vote from the denial of review in a similar case.

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