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REMANDED: Changes in Use of Firearms Law

California v. Bocanegra Court: California Courts of Appeal, Docket: C095234 (Third Appellate District), Opinion Date: April 28, 2023. Defendant Alex Bocanegra and Vernon R. were very close friends for decades. However, one Christmas, defendant, who was married, slept with Vernon R.’s girlfriend. The next year, Vernon R., by his account, slept with defendant’s wife, or, by her account, forcefully tried to. By this point, the friendship between defendant and Vernon R. was “dead.” Rather than allowing this saga to end, on the night of January 12, 2020, defendant drove from his home in San Jose to Vernon R.’s home in Manteca armed with three firearms including an AR-15 style rifle. Defendant broke a front window and fired shots into the house as Vernon R. scrambled through the house and dove out a bedroom window to get away. A jury found defendant not guilty of attempted murder, but found him guilty of assault with a firearm, possession of an assault weapon, discharging a firearm in a grossly negligent manner, and causing a concealed firearm to be carried in a vehicle while an occupant, and found true an allegation that, in committing assault with a firearm, defendant personally used a firearm in the commission of a felony. On appeal, defendant argued: (1) the matter had to be remanded for resentencing based on changes to Penal Code section 6541 made by Assembly Bill No. 518 (2021- 2022 Reg. Sess.); and (2) his conviction of possession of an assault weapon had to be reversed because Penal Code section 30605 was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment and the United States Supreme Court’s recent decision in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association, Inc. v. Bruen, ___U.S.___ [213 L.Ed.2d 387] (2002). Agreeing with defendant on his first point, the Court of Appeal remanded for resentencing. Otherwise, the Court affirmed defendant’s convictions.


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