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Supreme Court Reverses SB 1437 Denial

People v. Reyes Court: Supreme Court of California, Docket: S270723, Opinion Date: June 29, 2023. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal with instructions to remand this case to the trial court for further proceedings on Defendant's petition for resentencing, holding that the trial court erred in denying the petition. Defendant was convicted of second-degree murder and street terrorism, as well as gang and firearm enhancements. Two years after Defendant was sentenced, the legislature enacted Senate Bill No. 1437 to amend section 188 to provide that, except in cases of felony murder, "in order to be convicted of murder, a principal in a crime shall act with malice aforethought." Thereafter, Defendant petitioned the trial court for resentencing under what is now Cal. Penal Code1172.6, arguing that his murder conviction was based on the now-invalid natural and probable consequences theory. The trial court denied the petition. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case, holding that the trial court erred in sustaining Defendant's second-degree murder conviction, and to the extent the petition was rejected under a direct aiding and abetting theory, the trial court reversibly erred by misunderstanding the legal requirements of direct aiding and abetting implied malice murder.

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