Legal Blog

AB 600 Judge Initiated Resentencing

Published on October 19, 2023

Decoding AB 600: A Deep Dive into Judge-Initiated Resentencing

With a recent surge in interest surrounding AB 600, many individuals – even fellow attorneys – have sought clarification on what this legislation entails. The below will shed light on the nuances of AB 600.

The Origins and Purpose of AB 600

Signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on October 8, 2023, AB 600 stands as a transformative piece of legislation. In essence, this law grants judges the authority to initiate resentencing if the original sentence no longer aligns with current legislation. This could pertain to areas such as enhancements, sentencing rules, strike laws, and other aspects related to sentencing.

Changes in laws are not uncommon. Laws that seemed justifiable five, ten, or even thirty years ago might now be considered outdated or unjust. As such, AB 600 acts as a remedy, allowing for sentences to be revisited and rectified in light of modern legislation.

The Nitty-Gritty of AB 600

A few core elements of AB 600 include:

  1. Initiating Resentencing: While previously a resentencing required initiation from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) or agreement from the prosecutor, AB 600 places this power in the hands of judges. This resentencing can be initiated by the original judge, the current judge, or any judge with jurisdiction over the case.
  2. Considering Post-Conviction Factors: The court is now mandated to review post-conviction elements and assess if the defendant’s rights were potentially violated during the initial conviction or sentencing.
  3. Presumption Favoring Recall of Sentence: One of the pivotal aspects of AB 600 is its presumption in favor of resentencing. This comes into play unless the defendant poses an “unreasonable risk of danger to public safety.”

However, it is worth noting that despite this newfound judicial power, the law does not allow inmates or their attorneys to directly initiate the process. Judges must take the first step.

Should You Pursue an AB 600 Resentencing?

Though AB 600 provides an avenue for resentencing, it may not be commonly used by judges spontaneously. It is likely more beneficial in cases where judges have previously expressed a desire to issue a milder sentence but felt constrained by the laws of the time.

If you or someone you know is curious about the implications of AB 600 and how it might affect a past sentence, Spolin & Dukes P.C. is here to assist. Specializing in criminal appeals and writs of habeas corpus, our expertise lies precisely in this realm of post-conviction work. We can be reached at (866) 716-2805.

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