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REVERSED: Trial Court's Factfinding at Initial Stage of Motion to Vacate Conviction was Improper

California v. Murillo Docket: G059845 (Fourth Appellate District), Opinion Date: November 23, 2021. Appellant Javier Murillo was convicted by jury of forcibly resisting an executive officer in the performance of his duties, as well as delaying a peace officer in the performance of his duties and possessing drug paraphernalia. After he served his prison sentence, Murillo moved to vacate his resisting conviction based on newly discovered evidence, pursuant to Penal Code section 1473.6. Based on its own assessment of the underlying facts of the case and the credibility of the prosecution’s key witness, the trial court summarily denied appellant’s motion for failure to establish a prima facie case for relief. After review of the trial court record, the Court of Appeal agreed with appellant that such factfinding at the initial stage of the motion process was improper. Therefore, the trial court’s denial order was reversed, and the matter remanded for further proceedings.

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