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SB 1437 Relief: Petitioner Entitled to Judicial Determination

People v. Pineda Court: California Courts of Appeal, Docket: H047709 (Sixth Appellate District), Opinion Date: July 19, 2021. In 2003, Pineda lured Ramirez into an alley and beat Ramirez with a baseball bat. According to Rosales, Pineda and Rosales left the scene but returned. Pineda got into Ramirez’s truck. Rosales, in a Mazda, claims he accidentally hit Ramirez and dragged him before driving away. Pineda drove away in Ramirez’s truck. After a chase, officers stopped Pineda, covered in blood. Pineda stated, “He (Rosales) didn’t have anything to do with this” Ramirez’s blood was found on the undercarriage and interior of the Mazda. Ramirez died from his wounds; his baseball bat injuries were not lethal or potentially lethal. Pineda and Rosales were convicted of first-degree murder, second-degree robbery, and carjacking, with a felony-murder special circumstance. In 2019, Pineda sought section 1170.95 relief, alleging, that Pineda was convicted pursuant to the felony-murder rule or the natural and probable consequences doctrine and that Pineda could not now be so convicted because of changes to Penal Code sections 188 and 189. The court concluded that the felony-murder special circumstance finding precluded Pineda from making a prima facie showing of eligibility for relief. The court of appeal reversed, noting the issue is pending before the California Supreme Court: Pineda is entitled to a judicial determination of whether his conduct is proscribed by the special circumstances statute, considering the level of personal culpability described by recent precedent, before his section 1170.95 petition may be summarily denied.

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