Spolin Law P.C. is led by award-winning appeals attorney and former prosecutor Aaron Spolin. One of his most recent successful outcomes was on a murder case sent to the state's highest court.
What Does California AB 2942 Do?
California AB 2942 revised California Penal Code (PC) Section 1170(d)(1). Under the revised law, elected DAs now have the right to reevaluate past sentences. If the DA determines that the length of the sentence no longer serves the interests of justice, then they may request and support resentencing for that inmate. A DA in the county in which the inmate was sentenced may bring the request to the county court. The court can then deny or allow the request.
If the court agrees to resentence the defendant, it will hold a resentencing hearing. It may provide a new sentence, so long as that term is shorter than the initial sentence. The court is required to follow the Judicial Council’s sentencing rules to mitigate the risk of disparity among sentences.
What the Court Considers For a Recall
When determining whether to recall a defendant’s sentence, the court can consider a wide range of factors, including an inmate’s behavior following conviction. Just some of the factors the court may consider include:
- The inmate’s disciplinary history
- An inmate’s record of rehabilitation while incarcerated
- Whether there is evidence that the inmate’s risk of future violence has been reduced
- Evidence that circumstances have changed since the inmate was originally sentenced, such that continued incarceration does not serve justice
Why Give Prosecutors the Right to Seek Recalls?
You may wonder why the California legislature wished to give prosecutors the power to seek recalls and resentencing. This is because prosecutors are on the front lines of the criminal justice system every day. They are keenly aware of the complexities of sentencing, including that longer sentences can be punitive and lead to prison overcrowding. They are also aware that studies have shown that longer prison sentences are not as effective in reducing crime and recidivism as lawmakers once hoped.
DAs are in the best position to seek fair and effective sentences from the beginning. They also are in a good position to identify inmates who are potentially eligible for resentencing.
However, DAs are not the only official who can seek a recall. The Board of Parole for state prison inmates, the county correctional administrator for county jail inmates, and the secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) may recommend to the court that an inmate’s sentence be reviewed.
You May Petition CDCR For a Recall
If you or a loved one believe you should have a new sentence, you may petition CDCR. In June 2018, Governor Jerry Brown instructed CDCR to receive petitions from inmates who believed they deserve to be resentenced based on exceptional conduct during incarceration or a disproportionate punishment for their offense.
If you wish to petition CDCR for a sentence recall, you should contact a Los Angeles appeals lawyer as soon as possible. By working with an experienced attorney, you can be confident that CDCR will have a clear and accurate picture of your situation.
Now is the time to speak with a lawyer and file a petition. In California’s new annual budget, Gov. Brown provided a $2 million increase to be used for PC Section 1170(d)(1) requests for recalls and resentencing.
When You May Petition the Court For Your Sentence to Be Recalled
Certain defendants can ask for their sentences to be recalled under PC Section 1170(d)(2). When a defendant was younger than 18-years-old at the time of the offense, they were sentenced to life in prison without parole, and they have served at least 15 years, then they can petition the sentencing court for a recall and resentencing.
You must file the original petition with the court that handed down your sentence, and a copy of the petition will be served to the prosecutor’s office. The petition must include statements that you were under 18 at the time of the crime, you have been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole, and regarding your remorse and work toward rehabilitation.
Additionally, per PC Section 1170, one of the following factors must be true:
- You were convicted under felony murder or aiding and abetting murder laws.
- You did not have juvenile felony adjudications for assault or other felony crimes with a significant potential for personal harm to victims prior to the offense for which you are now sentenced.
- You committed the offense with at least one adult-aged co-defendant.
- You performed acts that tend to indicate rehabilitation or the potential of rehabilitation.
If the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that one or more of these statements are true, then the court shall recall your sentence and hold a resentencing hearing. The court will resentence you now, in accordance with current guidelines, as if you had not been sentenced before.
However, this is not possible for all types of convictions. This option is not available to defendants serving life without parole because they pleaded or were found guilty of torturing their victim, or when the victim was a public safety official.
Contact an Appeals Lawyer Regarding California AB 2942
If you or a loved one have served a significant portion of a long prison sentence and believe you deserve to have that sentenced recalled and reduced, do not hesitate to reach out to Spolin Law P.C.. Based on the newly revised Section 1170(d)(1) and Governor Brown’s stated priorities and budget, now is the time to determine whether you may be eligible for a reduced sentence.
To win a recall and resentencing hearing, you need to work with a skilled attorney. Aaron Spolin is an award-winning appeals lawyer. He is ranked in the top one percent of criminal lawyers in California. He also is recognized as one of the 10 Best Criminal Law Attorneys in California by the American Institute of Criminal Law Attorneys. Working with attorney Spolin can make a significant difference in your petition, and for your future.