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REVERSED: Denial of 1170.95 Petition

California v. Eynon Court: California Courts of Appeal, Docket: E074962 (Fourth Appellate District), Opinion Date: September 15, 2021. In 2013, Steven Ray Eynon pled guilty to premeditated first degree murder and admitted that the murder was committed during a robbery. The information alleged that a codefendant was the actual killer. In 2019, Eynon petitioned to vacate his murder conviction under Penal Code section 1170.95. The trial court denied the petition without issuing an order to show cause. On appeal, the State argued that Eynon was ineligible for relief because he “admitted he acted with a premeditated and deliberate intent to kill the victim.” The Court of Appeal rejected the State's argument because it mischaracterized Eynon’s factual admissions: Eynon admitted he was guilty, on an unspecified theory, of a premeditated and deliberate murder, but he did not admit that he acted with premeditation, deliberation, or intent to kill. In so holding, the Court agreed with California v. Rivera, 62 Cal.App.5th, review granted June 9, 2021, S268405 (2021), which rejected an argument similar to the one presented here. "Nothing in Eynon’s record of conviction refutes the allegation in his section 1170.95 petition that he is eligible for relief." The Court accordingly reversed the order denying his petition, and remanded with directions to issue an order to show cause under section 1170.95(c).

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