Recent changes in California law provide an opportunity for those who have been convicted of a crime to have their sentence reduced or even eliminated. If you have been sentenced under California's three-strikes law, or as an adult for crimes committed as a juvenile, contact us to see how we can help.
There are two primary methods of seeking re-sentencing under California law: Proposition 36 and Senate Bill (SB) 260.
Proposition 36 Under California’s long-standing version of the three-strikes law, defendants with two prior felony convictions (strikes) could face 25 years to life in prison for a third felony; even a non-violent charge. This law was reformed by voter initiative in 2012 to require that a third strike be a violent felony in most instances. Even better, the new law (known as proposition 36) applies retroactively; that is, to convictions that have already been handed down. This means that individuals can petition for a reconsideration of sentences given under the old law and, in many cases, have these sentences reduced to a more equitable term.
Senate Bill (SB) 260 In many states, young offenders can be tried as adults for certain crimes and sentenced to extremely long or even life sentences for crimes committed as young as 14. Fortunately, the Supreme Court blocked parts of this practice in a 2010 opinion. In 2013, California became the first state to respond with legislation changing child sentencing practices. Under existing state law, courts have the authority to review a prisoner’s sentence and, where appropriate, reduce that sentence. Senate Bill 260 requires that young offenders who were tried as adults be given meaningful opportunities for parole by mandating re-sentencing hearings after 15, 20, or 25 years of their sentence has been served depending on the crime in question. Like Proposition 36, SB 260 is retroactive which means that as many as 5000 of California’s youngest and most vulnerable prisoners may get a new lease on life under the law.
Senate Bill (SB) 1437 State Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Berkeley) and Sen. Joel Anderson (R-Alpine) have jointly authored Senate Bill 1437 so that it would "require a principal in a crime to act with malice aforethought to be convicted of murder except when the person was a participant in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of a specified felony in which a death occurred and the person was the actual killer, was not the actual killer but, with the intent to kill, aided, abetted, counseled, commanded, induced, solicited, requested, or assisted the actual killer in the commission of murder in the first degree, or the person was a major participant in the underlying felony and acted with reckless indifference to human life." Essentially, this bill would punish the participants for the crime they committed not for the murder unless that participant intentionally kills another person or aids and abets the killer can still be found guilty of murder.