Los Angeles SB-1437 Private Investigator

Serving all of Southern California, Orange County, Los Angeles County, Riverside County, and San Diego County

California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill (SB) 1437 into law on September 30, 2018. This bill changed murder laws in the state by placing a limit on who can be prosecuted for felony murder. The case of People vs. Sanchez F076838, SB-1437 was successfully used in a case of attempted murder with the prohibition of natural and probable consequence theory. Legal professionals can employ a skilled private investigator to identify factors that may help to qualify a person for relief under this bill.

What Is Senate Bill 1437?

When SB-1437 passed, it made compelling changes to Penal Code sections 188 and 189. A significant change was made by ending the role of the doctrine of “natural and probable consequences” as it applies to murder cases. This has effectively made it more difficult for individuals to be convicted of felony murder. It has also allowed many inmates convicted of this crime to seek resentencing for a lesser sentence.

How Has the Legislation Changed?

Consider the previous law versus the new law and how they may affect those charged with murder.
  • Previous felony murder rule. An individual was guilty of felony murder under the old law if they were a participant in a serious felony such as burglary, robbery, or carjacking, and a victim of that crime lost their life during the felony or as a result thereof.
    The old rule made no provision that the convicted individual had to intend for the murder to occur or be involved in the killing. For instance, if three robbers committed a burglary and one of them stabbed and killed the person they were burglarizing, all three were considered guilty of felony murder. In such a case, the other two burglars may have never had knowledge that a murder would occur and certainly may not have wished for a killing to happen.
  • Current felony murder rule. An individual may only be guilty of felony murder under the new felony murder rule if they:
    1. Were the actual killer
    2. Acted with intent to kill by encouraging the actual killer to commit the crime or assisting them in the killing
    3. Acted with “reckless indifference to human life” while acting as a major participant in the crime
    4. The murder victim was a police officer killed in the line of duty, and the individual knew the victim was an officer of the law performing their duties or should have reasonably known they were

What Do “Major Participant” and “Reckless Indifference to Human Life” Mean in a Crime?

The court may consider the following factors in determining whether an individual acted as a major participant in a crime.

  • Any awareness the individual may have had of the past conduct or experience of the other participants, weapons used, or the specific dangers posed by the nature of the crime
  • Any role the individual had in planning the crime that led to the killing
  • Any role the individual had in supplying or using lethal weapons
  • Whether the individual was present at the scene of the murder, in a position to prevent or facilitate the killing, and whether their own actions or inaction played a role in the death
  • Any actions the individual took after the use of lethal force

This means that certain participants, such as an individual who drove a getaway car, may be able to apply for resentencing.

When the court decides on whether an individual acted with “reckless indifference to human life,” they may consider the following factors.

  • The individual’s efforts to reduce the risk of violence during the commission of the felony
  • Whether the individual knew of another participant’s likelihood of killing
  • The duration of the felony
  • The individual’s physical presence at the scene of the crime, and whether they had the opportunity to aid the victim or restrain the crime
  • Any knowledge the individual had of weapons, the number of weapons, and their use

An example of a crime that isn’t likely to be considered “reckless endangerment to human life” is one in which an individual participated in a robbery but believed the gun wasn’t loaded.

Who Is Eligible for Resentencing Under Senate Bill 1437?

There are several instances in which an individual may be resentenced under SB-1437, including the following.

  • An individual who accepted a plea deal but could have been convicted of first or second-degree murder if they had gone to trial
  • An individual who was convicted of first-degree or second-degree murder
  • An individual who could not be convicted of first-degree or second-degree murder under the new legislation

Any individual who could have been charged with the crime of murder under its current definition is not eligible for resentencing.

Winning a Senate Bill 1437 Application

For an individual to win their SB-1437 application, an appeals attorney needs to file a petition declaring their eligibility for resentencing with the court in which they were sentenced.

This petition must include the year the individual was sentenced, as well as their court case number and any necessary materials and supporting arguments. The attorney must then serve the petition on the attorney who represented the individual in their criminal trial and the district attorney.

The petition must establish that the individual is eligible to be resentenced by providing legal arguments, facts, and proof of the claim. New evidence may also be introduced to support the petition.

If the court determines the individual is eligible for resentencing, they will schedule a hearing. At this hearing, the onus to establish that the individual should not be resentenced is on the prosecutor. If the prosecutor fails or agrees that the individual is eligible to be resentenced, the judge will order a resentencing. SB-1437 also allows an individual to be resentenced if the court determined they were not a major participant in the crime when they were originally sentenced.

Attorneys Trust Amatrix Investigations

When an appeals attorney petitions for a client to be resentenced under SB-1437, evidence is crucial to prove their client’s eligibility for resentencing. Amatrix Investigations is the private investigation firm lawyers turn to in the Los Angeles area to help them get the proof they need. Visit our website today to learn more.

INJUSTICE anywhere is a threat to JUSTICE everywhere.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
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