Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on People v. Heard and Penal Code §1170(d)(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.

2. Who is eligible to file a petition under Penal Code §1170(d)(1)?

Answer: Eligibility for filing a petition under Penal Code §1170(d)(1) requires:

  • Conviction for a crime committed before turning 18.
  • A sentence equivalent to life without parole.
  • Demonstrated remorse and rehabilitation.
  • No prior juvenile adjudications for serious crimes before the offense.
  • The crime must not involve torturing the victim or offenses against law enforcement or firefighters. For detailed guidance, consult a California criminal defense lawyer experienced in juvenile resentencing.

3. What factors must a judge consider during a resentencing hearing?

Answer: During a resentencing hearing, the judge considers:

  • Whether the offense involved an adult co-defendant.
  • The offender’s prior lack of adult support or supervision.
  • Any psychological or physical trauma experienced by the offender.
  • The offender’s potential for rehabilitation, including participation in rehabilitative, educational, or vocational programs.
  • Evidence of remorse and maintenance of family ties or positive connections.
  • Any disciplinary actions in the last five years and efforts to distance themselves from criminal influences. California criminal defense attorneys play a vital role in presenting these factors to the court.

4. How can the new law under People v. Heard help eligible individuals?

Answer: The law under People v. Heard can help in several ways:

  • Juvenile offenders under 16 at the time of the crime may have their cases transferred back to juvenile court.
  • Offenders aged 16-17 at the time of the offense may benefit from a new transfer hearing.
  • Judges can lower the sentence, transfer the case to juvenile court, or maintain the current sentence. They cannot increase the sentence. For personalized advice, contact a knowledgeable California criminal defense lawyer.

5. What should be included in the petition for recall and resentencing?

Answer: The petition must include:

  • Age at the time of the crime.
  • Detailed sentence information.
  • Confirmation of having served at least 15 years.
  • Statements of remorse and evidence of rehabilitation.
  • Information about not having committed certain serious offenses.
  • Proof of mailing copies to the district attorney and the original defense attorney or public defender. California criminal defense attorneys can assist in preparing a comprehensive petition.

6. Are behavioral credits included in determining eligibility for filing a petition?

Answer: No, behavioral credits are not included in calculating the 15-year incarceration requirement. The individual must have physically served 15 years before filing a petition. For clarification, consult a California criminal defense attorney.

7. What is Senate Bill 1391 and how does it relate to juvenile offenders?

Answer: Senate Bill 1391, passed in 2019, amends Welfare and Institutions Code section 707 to prohibit transferring cases to adult court for offenders who were 14 or 15 years old at the time of the crime. Now, only individuals who were at least 16 years old can be transferred to adult court. This bill significantly impacts juvenile defense cases in California. For more information, contact a California criminal defense lawyer.

8. Can someone eligible for relief under Senate Bill 1437 or Senate Bill 775 file a petition under Penal Code §1170(d)(1)?

Answer: Yes, but individuals must be extremely careful and should consult a California criminal defense attorney before filing, as statements made in one petition can affect other petitions. Senate Bill 1437 and 775 allow resentencing for certain murder convictions, but filing for relief under both laws can have legal implications.

9. What happens if the court rejects my petition?

Answer: If a petition is rejected, the individual should resubmit another petition, addressing any issues highlighted by the court. If the reasons for rejection are unclear, consulting a California criminal defense attorney is advised.

10. Can I appeal the judge’s decision if my petition is denied?

Answer: Yes, if the petition to recall the sentence is denied, the decision can be appealed. Similarly, if the judge resentences the individual to the functional equivalent of life without parole, this decision can also be appealed. The notice of appeal must be filed within 60 days of the judge’s decision. For assistance with appeals, contact a California criminal defense lawyer.

How a California Criminal Defense Lawyer Can Help

This FAQ aims to provide comprehensive information for individuals seeking to understand and navigate the complexities of Penal Code §1170(d)(1) in the context of juvenile sentencing and the People v. Heard case. For personalized legal advice, consulting with a California criminal defense attorney is recommended. You can consult with one of our lawyers by calling 213-800-7664 or submitting a contact submission here.

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