Articles Posted in Juvenile Offenses

Navigating the complexities of the California criminal justice system, especially when it comes to sentencing and resentencing, can be daunting. If you or a loved one is serving a lengthy prison sentence, it is important to fully understand all possible options for relief. In this post, our Los Angeles and Orange County Criminal Defense and Appeals lawyers will discuss several recent changes to the law that provide various ways to pursue sentencing and resentencing relief.

California Resentencing Laws--an overview

California Resentencing Laws–an overview

At Power Trial Lawyers, we believe that knowledge is power, especially when it comes to California sentencing law. We recognize that California’s sentencing laws are extraordinarily complex, and, adding to the difficulties, they frequently change. But at Power Trial Lawyers, that’s our job. We are passionate about achieving superior results for our clients in criminal defense and appeals cases. This article will cover Assembly Bill 600, California’s Racial Justice Act (AB 256), Penal Code 1172.1, Penal Code 1170(d) (People v. Heard), Penal Code 1385, and Assembly Bill 333.

Navigating the criminal justice system can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to the intricacies of the appeals process. For those convicted of crimes in California, understanding the rights and procedures related to direct appeals is crucial. This article provides a comprehensive analysis of the appeals process. This guide is particularly valuable for individuals seeking the expertise of a California Criminal Defense and Appeals Lawyer.

Introduction to Direct Appeals

Any person convicted of a crime in California has the right to a direct appeal from the final judgment, typically the commitment to prison or other sentencing orders. Direct appeals are also available to those who have been civilly committed as Mentally Disordered Offenders (MDOs) or Sexually Violent Predators (SVPs). The appeals process is an essential legal mechanism, allowing higher courts to review potential legal errors made during the trial or sentencing that could have affected the outcome.

Resentencing can be a complex and pivotal aspect of the criminal justice process, particularly in California where recent legislative changes have opened new avenues for inmates to seek sentence reductions. Penal Code § 1172.1 provides a structured framework for recalling and resentencing individuals, but the pathway to achieving this relief requires a nuanced understanding of the law and its application. This article delves into the intricacies of California Penal Code § 1172.1, offering a comprehensive analysis for prospective clients, particularly those seeking the expertise of a California Criminal Defense and Appeals Lawyer.

Background on Penal Code § 1172.1

California Resentencing Penal Code 1172.1

California Resentencing Penal Code 1172.1

At Power Trial Lawyers, our criminal defense attorneys represent individuals who are facing criminal prosecution or are being considered for resentencing. In this article, we will discuss resentencing pursuant to Penal Code 1170(d) in context of the court’s decision in People v. Heard.

1. What is the People v. Heard case about?

Answer: The People v. Heard case is pivotal in California juvenile sentencing law. It involves a juvenile offender, Frank Heard, sentenced to 23 years plus 80 years to life for crimes committed at ages 15 and 16. Heard filed a petition under Penal Code §1170(d)(1), which allows juveniles sentenced to life without parole to seek resentencing after serving 15 years. The Court of Appeal ruled that juveniles given the “functional equivalent” of life without parole could also request resentencing, ensuring equal protection under California law. This case is crucial for California criminal defense attorneys handling juvenile cases.

On October 8, 2023, California took a significant stride in criminal justice reform with the enactment of Assembly Bill 600, widely referred to as “AB 600”. This legislative development, approved by Governor Newsome, marks a paradigm shift in the state’s approach to resentencing hearings for inmates, introducing the concept of Judicial Initiated Sentencing. In this article, we will discuss AB 600, how it came about, how it works, and what applicants may anticipate if filing for an AB 600 “judicial initiated” resentencing.

Understanding AB 600: An Evolution in Resentencing

AB 600 stands as a pioneering California law designed to augment judges’ discretion in ordering resentencing hearings for inmates serving extended sentences for serious crimes. To grasp the nuances of AB 600, it is crucial to contrast its provisions with the previous legal landscape.

On August 8, 2022, the California Supreme Court decided a long-awaited case that affects SB 1437 Petitions for individuals convicted of Special Circumstance Murder when they ruled in the case of People v. Christopher Strong. Specifically, the Supreme Court ruled that some special circumstance findings do not automatically preclude defendants from SB 1437 relief.

Background Regarding SB 1437

dreamstime_xl_15103637-750x422-1-300x169In 2019, SB 1437 was enacted, amending Penal Code § 188 and § 189 and creating Penal Code § 1170.95. Pursuant to SB 1437, accomplice liability for felony murder and murder by way of the natural and probable consequence doctrine was substantially changed, allowing individuals convicted to seek to vacate their murder convictions and obtain resentencing relief. Resentencing is available for individuals convicted of murder, attempted murder, and/or manslaughter if they demonstrate:

Governor Gavin Newsom recommends for Commutation the Application of a Power Trial Lawyers, P.C. Client who spent nearly three decades behind bars.

Power Trial Lawyers, P.C. receives the Commutation Recommendation from Governor Gavin Newsom’s office. The Power Trial Lawyers, P.C. client may soon be walking free. Historically, Governors will wait and issue a number of Commutations and other Pardons at the end of their term. However, Governor Newsom has elected to issue commutations more periodically. And in making these issuance, he has recieved and reviewed the Commutation Application of a deserving Power Trial Lawyers Client and has recommended his sentence to be commuted.

Traditionally, the Governor’s office has free reign and control to commute sentences in any way they deem fit. One thing the Governor’s office can do is recommend a sentence for commutation by sending the case, alongside the commutation recommendation, to the office of the Parole Board, who will put together a review and hold a hearing. Once that’s completed successfully, it will be sent back to the Governor’s office for final commutation. This particular Power Trial Lawyers client may soon be walking free after nearly 30 years of incarceration.

Recently, the United States Supreme Court issued an opinion in the case of Jones v. Mississippi. The case required the Court to determine the proper procedure that a court must follow when sentencing a juvenile offender to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Historically, juveniles were frequently charged as adults. It wasn’t until relatively recently that the juvenile justice system came into existence. The juvenile justice system has a primary focus on rehabilitation. Minors can also “age out” of the juvenile justice system, limiting the length of time they are subject to incarceration or supervision. Thus, whenever possible, juveniles benefit from staying in the juvenile justice system.

For the most part, juveniles who are charged as adults face the same punishments that adults do. There are two important exceptions: the death penalty and life in prison without the possibility of parole (JLWOP). In recent years, the U.S. Supreme Court has held that juveniles cannot be sentenced to death. Subsequently, the Court determined that, while juveniles can be sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, a trial court must follow strict procedures that allow proper consideration of the defendant’s age.

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