Petition for Vacating Murder Conviction (Senate Bill 1473)
Defendants who were convicted of murder based on the felony murder rule and the natural and probable consequences doctrine. The felony murder rule makes it a murder if anyone dies during the commission of a felony. The natural and probable consequence doctrine says that if someone died as a result of the actions of one of the group of people committing the felony then they are all guilty of the murder because they knew that the death was the natural and probable consequences of the crime.
The California Legislature recently changed the definition of felony murder to eliminate the natural and probable consequences doctrine. You can now only be convicted of felony murder if you were the person who actually caused the death.
In order to Petition for relief, the defendant cannot have been convicted as the actual shooter. Or seek relief if the jury found they acted in conscious disregard for human life. If the defendant was found to have played a major role in the murder he is ineligible. Finally, if the victim was a cop, the relief is not available.
Once you bring the Petition the court will decide if it merits a hearing. At the hearing the Prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant’s conviction shouldn’t be vacated. If vacated, the murder conviction is vacated and the defendant will only be required to serve the sentence on the underlying felony.
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