Tag Archives: Appeal


SB 1437 Update
June 12th, 2021

This post:   SB 1437, Which Amended the Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine as It Relates to Murder, Bars a Conviction for Second Degree Murder Under That Theory  December 23rd, 2020   discusses People v. Gentile (2020) 10 Cal.5th 830, 842 which barred a conviction for second degree murder under the natural and probable consequences […]


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Defendants Whose Cases Are Pending on Appeal May Seek to Stay Their Appeals in Order to Pursue Relief Under SB 1437
January 4th, 2021

People v. Gentile (Dec. 17, 2020, S256698) concluded that SB 1437 bars a conviction for second degree murder under the natural and probable consequences theory. It also held that the procedure set forth in section PC 1170.95 is the exclusive mechanism for retroactive relief and thus the ameliorative provisions of SB 1437 do not apply […]


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SB 1437, Which Amended the Natural and Probable Consequences Doctrine as It Relates to Murder, Bars a Conviction for Second Degree Murder Under That Theory
December 23rd, 2020

When an accomplice aids and abets a crime, the accomplice is culpable for both that crime and any other offense committed that is the natural and probable consequence of the aided and abetted crime. Natural and probable consequences liability can be imposed even if the accomplice did not intend the additional offense. (People v. McCoy […]


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CSC Neither Tightens Nor Lessens Standard of Prejudice for Alternate Theory Error
September 4th, 2020

People v. Aledamat (2019) 8 Cal.5th 1 a divided court held that the same standard of prejudice which applies to the misdescription or omission of elements of the charge applies to alternate theory error: i.e., instruction on both a correct and incorrect theory of guilt: “the same Chapman analysis of harmless error applies to alternative-theory […]


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SB 1437 and Attempted Murder
August 27th, 2020

A recurring issue in Court of Appeal opinions is whether SB 1437 applies to attempted murder liability under the natural and probable consequences doctrine, and there is currently a split in authority. The California Supreme will consider this issue in People v. Lopez (2019) 38 Cal.App.5th 1087, review granted 11/13/2019 (S258175/B271516). See this post: Two […]


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Deficiencies in Defense Evidence Cannot Make up for Shortcomings in Prosecution’s Evidence
August 13th, 2020

[Update of February 3rd, 2015 post] People v. Centeno (2014) 60 Cal. 4th 659 provides an important clarification of the presumption of innocence and the prosecution’s burden of proof: “…[D]eficiencies in the defense case [cannot] make up for shortcomings in [the prosecution’s case].” (Id., at 673.) For example, in People v. Brito (Sep. 19, 2019, […]


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Judicial Recognition That Juror Compromise May Produce Unreliable Verdicts When the Jury Is Given An All-Or-Nothing Choice Between Conviction and Acquittal
May 17th, 2020

The rationale for requiring courts to instruct on lesser-included offenses is to avoid forcing the jury into an ” ‘unwarranted all-or-nothing choice’ ” that creates the risk the jury will convict on the charged offense even though one of the elements remains in doubt because ” ‘the defendant is plainly guilty of some offense.’ ” […]


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Failure to Object Does Not Forfeit the Issue on Appeal When There Is a Change in the Law
May 12th, 2020

In People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 C4th 665 held that if an expert testifies to case-specific out-of-court statements to explain the bases for his opinion, those statements are necessarily considered by the jury for their truth, thus rendering them hearsay.   In People v. Perez (2020) ___ Cal5th ___ S248730; 2/27/20 defense counsel failed to […]


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Prosecution’s Constitutional Challenge to SB 1437 Rejected and CSC Review Denied
April 14th, 2020

SB 1437 bars liability for felony murder where the defendant wasn’t the actual killer, didn’t intend to kill, and wasn’t a major participant in the underlying felony. In Gooden, the C/A People v. Superior Court (Gooden); 42 CA5th 270 rejected the DA’s argument that SB 1437 unconstitutionally amended Proposition 7 or Proposition 115. Furthermore, People […]


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Two Issues Regarding Accomplice Liability for Attempted Murder Currently Before the CSC
March 17th, 2020

In 2018, the Legislature and the Governor signed into law Senate Bill No. 1437, (Penal Code which restricted the circumstances under which a person can be liable for felony murder and abrogated the natural and probable consequences doctrine as applied to murder. (Stats. 2018, ch. 1015.) It also established a procedure permitting qualified persons with […]


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