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People v. Martinez

Court of Appeal of California, Second Appellate District, Division Five

January 24, 2019, Opinion Filed

B287255

Case Summary

Overview

HOLDINGS: [1]-The Pen. Code, § 1170.95, petition procedure is the avenue by which defendants with nonfinal sentences of the type specified in § 1170.95, subd. (a), must pursue relief; [2]-Defendant, who was convicted of murder after instructions were given that allowed the jury to convict him of first-degree murder pursuant to either a felony-murder theory or the natural and probable consequences doctrine, as both were defined prior to the effective date of Sen. Bill No. 1437, could not, on direct appeal, avail himself of the ameliorative benefits of Sen. Bill No. 1437 but, instead, had to file a Pen. Code, § 1170.95, petition in the trial court to seek retroactive relief.

Outcome

Judgment affirmed.

LexisNexis® Headnotes

 

 

Governments > Legislation > Effect & Operation > Amendments

Criminal Law & Procedure > Sentencing > Corrections, Modifications & Reductions > Reductions Based on Amended Sentencing Ranges

Governments > Legislation > Effect & Operation > Retrospective Operation

HN1  Amendments

An amendatory statute lessening punishment is presumed to apply in all cases not yet reduced to final judgment as of the amendatory statute's effective date, unless the enacting body clearly signals its intent to make the amendment prospective, by the inclusion of either an express saving clause or its equivalent. This rule rests on an inference that when the legislature has reduced the punishment for an offense, it has determined the former penalty was too severe and therefore must have intended that the new statute imposing the new lighter penalty should apply to every case to which it constitutionally could apply.

 

Criminal Law & Procedure > ... > Murder > Felony Murder > Penalties

Governments > Legislation > Effect & Operation > Retrospective Operation

Criminal Law & Procedure > Sentencing > Resentencing

Criminal Law & Procedure > Sentencing > Corrections, Modifications & Reductions > Reductions Based on Amended Sentencing Ranges

HN2  Penalties

Sen. Bill No. 1437 is not silent on the question of retroactivity. Rather, it provides retroactivity rules in Pen. Code, § 1170.95. The petitioning procedure specified in that section applies to persons who have been convicted of felony murder or murder under a natural and probable consequences theory. It creates a special mechanism that allows those persons to file a petition in the sentencing court seeking vacatur of their conviction and resentencing. In doing so, § 1170.95 does not distinguish between persons whose sentences are final and those whose sentences are not. That the legislature specifically created this mechanism, which facially applies to both final and nonfinal convictions, is a significant indication Sen. Bill No. 1437 should not be applied retroactively to nonfinal convictions on direct appeal.

 

Criminal Law & Procedure > ... > Murder > Felony Murder > Penalties

Governments > Legislation > Effect & Operation > Retrospective Operation

Criminal Law & Procedure > Sentencing > Resentencing

Criminal Law & Procedure > Sentencing > Corrections, Modifications & Reductions > Reductions Based on Amended Sentencing Ranges

HN3  Penalties

The procedure outlined in Pen. Code, § 1170.95, underscores the legislative intent to require those who seek retroactive relief to proceed by way of that statutorily specified procedure. The statute requires a petitioner to submit a declaration stating he or she is eligible for relief based on the criteria in § 1170.95, subd. (a). § 1170.95, subd. (b)(1)(A). Where the prosecution does not stipulate to vacating the conviction and resentencing the petitioner, it has the opportunity to present new and additional evidence to demonstrate the petitioner is not entitled to resentencing. § 1170.95, subd. (d)(3). The petitioner, too, has the opportunity to present new or additional evidence on his or her behalf. § 1170.95, subd. (d)(3). Providing the parties with the opportunity to go beyond the original record in the petition process, a step unavailable on direct appeal, is strong evidence the legislature intended for persons seeking the ameliorative benefits of Sen. Bill No. 1437 to proceed via the petitioning procedure. The provision permitting submission of additional evidence also means Sen. Bill No. 1437 does not categorically provide a lesser punishment must apply in all cases, and it also means defendants convicted under the old law are not necessarily entitled to new trials.

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31 Cal. App. 5th 719 ; 242 Cal. Rptr. 3d 860 ; 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 68 ; 2019 WL 312126

THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. JOSE ANGEL MARTINEZ, Defendant and Appellant.

Notice: As modified Feb. 13, 2019.

CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION

Subsequent History: Modified and rehearing denied by People v. Martinez, 2019 Cal. App. LEXIS 119 (Cal. App. 2d Dist., Feb. 13, 2019)

Request granted People v. Martinez, 2019 Cal. LEXIS 3192 (Cal., Apr. 23, 2019)

Review denied by, Request denied by People v. Martinez, 2019 Cal. LEXIS 3094 (Cal., May 1, 2019)

Prior History:  [1] APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Los Angeles County, No. NA095527, Laura L. Laesecke, Judge.

Disposition: Affirmed.