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State Senator Levine Seeks To Repeal PC 1385.1

AB 1224, as introduced Senator Levine. Sentencing: special circumstances. An act to repeal and add Section 1385.1 of the Penal Code, relating to crimes. LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST: Existing law provides for various specified special circumstances, including the murder of a peace officer, firefighter, or witness, which, if found true as specified, require a defendant found guilty of murder in the first degree to be sentenced to death or imprisonment for life without the possibility of parole. Existing law, added by Proposition 115 of the June 5, 1990, statewide primary election, prohibits a judge from striking or dismissing any special circumstance admitted by plea or found true by a jury or court, as specified. Existing law provides for amendment of these provisions by a 2/3 vote of each house of the Legislature.

This bill would amend Proposition 115 by repealing the provision prohibiting a judge from striking a special circumstance and by, instead, authorizing a judge, on the judge’s own motion or upon the application of either party, and in the furtherance of justice, to order the dismissal of a special circumstance finding or admission. The bill would authorize a judge to order the dismissal of a special circumstance finding or admission retroactively when the trial court judgment has become final and the sentence has been executed, or the imposition of the sentence has been suspended, including when the sentence previously pronounced was life imprisonment without the possibility of parole or the death penalty, as specified. This bill would state that its provisions are severable.

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