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How The New Senate Bill 775 Can Reduce Your Murder or Attempted Murder Charges

Posted in Criminal Defense on January 10, 2022

Although previous criminal justice laws put strict limits on when someone could be charged with murder, it also restricted the eligibility for individuals who were convicted of murder. 

This became an issue when many people charged with the same kinds of crimes would avoid these sentences by pleading to less severe crimes such as manslaughter. This allowed them to avoid a murder or attempted murder trial amd the resulting penalties under the old felony murder standard. 

But that has all changed with the passage of Senate Bill 775. here, people who have been convicted of felony murder or murder under the old felony murder standard can file a petition with the court to vacate their sentence and resentence them when specific criteria have been met. 

Here is more about Senate Bill 775 and how it could have an impact on your murder or attempted murder charges

What Is Senate Bill 775?

Senate Bill 775 allows for people who were previously charged under the old felony murder standard, and were not allowed to petition for resentencing Under Senate Bill 1437, can now seek to get their convictions reduced or revoked, and in many cases obtained they are released from prison altogether.

SB 775 was enacted to help people who did not have the intent to kill another person. In addition to providing appeal relief for people charged with voluntary manslaughter, people convicted of attempted murder under the old felony murder doctrine may now be eligible for resentencing.

How Does SB 775 Affect On SB 1437?

SB 775 does not change SB 1437 in any way. However, what it does is clarify SB 1437, which previously ruled that accomplices were liable for murder when someone else is killed during the commission of other types of felonies, such as robbery. SB 775 serves two purposes:

  1. It requires prosecutors to prove that someone had a direct role in a killing 
  2. It allows people who were previously charged under the old felony murder rules to seek resentencing.

This also creates fewer opportunities for situations in which people can be charged with felony murder in the same crime, but face different penalties. For example, someone who took their case to trial and lost could previously be released under SB 1437. But someone who tried to avoid going to trial would not have been eligible under SB 1437.

Most importantly, SB 775 clarifies SB 1437 explicitly for individuals who were convicted of attempted murder or voluntary manslaughter.

Is SB 775 Retroactive?

Yes, SB 775 is retroactive. This means, if you have previous convictions for voluntary manslaughter or attempted murder, under SB 775, you may be eligible to petition for resentencing. 

Since SB 1437 failed to include the convictions of lesser offenses, SB 775 provides new opportunities for those who were previously convicted of said lesser offenses. 

Resentencing Under SB 775

If you are eligible for resentencing under SB 775, your attorney will need to help you prepare your petition accordingly. Here are some of the key details we will want to include as part of your petition for resentencing:

  • Your court case number
  • Other information about your case
  • Arguments to support your request for a lesser sentence
  • Any other materials the court may request
  • A declaration that you are eligible for relief under CA Penal Code § 1170.95, as modified by SB 775

Once we have completed your petition, we will serve the petition to the district attorney who represented your original court case. During this time, your lawyer will be working to establish your eligibility and may present additional facts during your case. 

But be prepared, the prosecuting attorney may also present additional evidence if they oppose your petition for resentencing. This might include:

  • Victim statements
  • Other forensic evidence
  • Recorded jail or prison calls
  • Other evidence they hope will support their case against you

However, if the prosecutor agrees that you are eligible for resentencing, then you may be more likely to get your resentencing expedited. The court will hold a hearing to determine whether the prosecuting attorney has met their burden of proof to disagree with your petition. 

If they did not, then the judge may order that you be resentenced for your original conviction. In the event that your conviction should be vacated, and you must be sentenced on any remaining charges, your new sentence cannot be longer than your original one.

If your petition for resentencing does not include the information necessary or required, your petition may be denied without prejudice. This means you can attempt to re-file your possession at a later time, with the appropriate information and supporting evidence you need. If you hope to be granted resentencing under SB 775, you will need to present a strong argument before the court that details your right to relief.

How A California SB 775 Attorney Can Help

If you are interested in seeing whether you could qualify to get your murder or attempted murder charges reduced under SB 775, you can apply for resentencing. Your criminal defense lawyer can help you even if you have previously applied for resentencing, and are currently in pending status.

We can assist you in filing your motion, which could have your sentence revoked or reduced in just a few short months. Remember, failing to include all of the necessary supporting documentation and information could result in the denial of your resentencing petition. If you have questions or concerns surrounding your eligibility status, be sure to contact our office to discuss the specific details of your case.

Contact The Law Office of Graham Donath Today

If you have been charged with attempted murder or murder, and you are hoping to get your charges reduced or dismissed, be sure to reach out to our experienced criminal defense attorneys at the Law Offices of Graham D. Donath

Schedule your confidential consultation when you complete our secured contact form. Or, call our Orange County office at 714-758-5293 or our Riverside office at 951-667-5293.