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Compassionate Release Ordered

Nijmeddin v. Superior Court of Monterey County Court: California Courts of Appeal, Docket: H050870 (Sixth Appellate District), Opinion Date: April 5, 2023. In 2015, Nijmeddin was sentenced to an indeterminate life term, consecutive to a determinate term, for murder, attempted voluntary manslaughter, assault with a deadly weapon, and possession of narcotics. In 2023, the Department of Corrections recommended that the court recall Nijmeddin’s sentence under the new compassionate release provisions, Penal Code 1172.2, that apply to defendants who have “serious and advanced illness with an end-of-life trajectory,” creating a “presumption favoring recall and resentencing . . . which may only be overcome if a court finds the defendant is an unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.” Nijmeddin has advanced incurable pancreatic cancer, biliary adenocarcinoma, and other medical conditions. Nijmeddin is foregoing chemotherapy treatment. Nijmeddin, 65 years old, has committed prison rules violations, including fighting and violent threats. Nijmeddin’s doctor testified Nijmeddin “is barely able to get out of" his wheelchair and estimated Nijmeddin has three-six months to live. Nijmeddin’s brother, an attorney, is willing to be Nijmeddin’s caregiver. The court observed, “Nijmeddin looks quite good. … the doctors may say that he is terminally ill, he is not on that far end.” The court characterized Nijmeddin as “able to use his mental capacity to commit offenses” and declined to recall Nijmeddin’s sentence, finding that he poses an unreasonable risk to public safety. The Attorney General conceded that the court erred and that Nijmeddin is entitled to relief. The court of appeal issued a peremptory writ of mandate commanding the trial court to immediately enter an order recalling Nijmeddin’s sentence.

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