Senate Bill 775 (SB 775) currently sits on the desk of California Governor Gavin Newsom waiting to be signed. It passed in both the assembly and senate on September 10, 2021, and now it’s up to the governor to either sign it within 12 days or veto it. If he does nothing, it will become law. But what does that mean? Read below to learn more about how SB 775 will change things for many people who have been convicted of attempted murder or manslaughter.


What is SB 775?

Aaron Spolin

Award-winning SB 775 attorney Aaron Spolin is ready to begin filing petitions to obtain sentence reductions.

SB 775 is an act that amends Section 1170.95 of the California Penal code relating to murder.

Primarily, SB 775 clarifies that a person who was convicted of attempted murder or manslaughter may apply to have their sentence vacated and be resentenced in a fashion similar to that presented in SB 1437, which applied to felony murder. SB 775 applies to people who were convicted of attempted murder “under the natural and probable consequences doctrine or any other theory under which malice is imputed to the person based solely on their participation in the crime.” It also applies to anyone convicted of manslaughter under the theory of felony murder or murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine.” These are theories that typically apply to murder cases, but are extended to attempted murder and manslaughter cases in some situations.

It also requires that the court find a prima facie (accepted as correct until proved otherwise) showing has been made that the person who was convicted, the petitioner, falls within the resentencing provisions unless they fail to show that they meet the requirements. This means that your request to the court for resentencing should clearly state your qualifications. If you fail to make this showing, the court may seek additional information, resulting in delay, or deny your request.

The next action this bill takes is providing for the appointment of counsel to represent the petitioner. The petitioner must simply request counsel when they submit a petition for resentencing under SB 775. Even if some information is missing from that petition, the court will appoint counsel if the petitioner cannot afford a private post-conviction relief attorney.

SB 775 goes on to specify that even if there is substantial evidence that supports a conviction of murder, attempted murder, or manslaughter, that is insufficient to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant is ineligible for resentencing. That means even if the prosecution has a substantial amount of evidence that the defendant committed one of these crimes, the petitioner is still eligible for resentencing.

Finally, even if a conviction of murder, attempted murder, or manslaughter is not final, the defendant may challenge the validity of that conviction on direct appeal.

It’s important to work with a California post-conviction relief attorney who understands this new law and will guide you through the petition process. Call Spolin Law P.C. for help: (310) 424-5816.

How Is SB 775 Related to SB 1437?

SB 775 is a continuation and clarification of SB 1437, which was enacted in 2018. SB 1427 reformed the felony murder law in California by clarifying that malice cannot be imputed on a person solely because of their specified crime. More importantly for everyone who had already been convicted under the felony murder law, SB 1437 allowed inmates to petition to have their sentences recalled and be resentenced pursuant to new standards and provisions in SB 1437. You can learn more about SB 1437 here.

The problem with SB 1437 was that it did not specifically say it applied to convictions of attempted murder and manslaughter that were prosecuted under the felony murder theory or a natural and probable consequences theory. That’s where SB 775 comes in. It picks up where SB 1437 dropped the ball. Now, anyone convicted under the felony murder theory can petition the court to have their sentence reduced.

  1. What Does SB 775 Do?
  2. Who Can Be Resentenced Under SB 775?
  3. How to Win Your SB 775 Petition
  4. Laws Similar to SB 775
  5. How a Premier Appeals Lawyer Can Help

Who Can Be Resentenced Under SB 775?

SB 775 provides for the resentencing of anyone who was convicted of the following:

  • Attempted Murder – Under any theory in which malice is imputed solely based on participation in the crime.
  • Manslaughter – Under the theory of felony murder or murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine.

There is also relief built into the bill for people who are charged with these crimes under the aforementioned theories but have not yet been convicted.

  1. What Does SB 775 Do?
  2. Who Can Be Resentenced Under SB 775?
  3. How to Win Your SB 775 Petition
  4. Laws Similar to SB 775
  5. How a Premier Appeals Lawyer Can Help

How to Win Your SB 775 Petition

Criminal appeal attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. discuss strategies to win an SB 775 petition

Criminal appeal attorneys at Spolin Law P.C. discuss strategies to win an SB 775 petition.

Your California appeals attorney can help you gather any necessary information and file a petition to seek resentencing. You will have to file your petition with the court that originally sentenced you. Then, the judge will review your petition and determine if you are eligible for resentencing.

In your petition, your attorney must include the following:

  • Your court case number
  • The year you were convicted
  • Supporting arguments
  • Other materials as requested by the court

Then, your lawyer will serve the petition on the district attorney and on the attorney who represented you at your original criminal trial.

Establishing Your Eligibility

Your appeals lawyer must establish your eligibility for resentencing in your petition. That will require the presentation of facts and legal arguments. New evidence may also be presented along with your petition.

If any of the information required on the petition is missing and cannot be readily obtained from the petitioner, then the court may deny the petition without prejudice. That means another petition may be filed at a later date with all of the appropriate information.

Opposition or Support of Your Eligibility by the Government

The government may oppose your petition. If they do, the prosecution will respond to your petition with their own arguments about why you should not be resentenced.

However, the prosecutor may agree that you are eligible for resentencing. If this is the case, the court is likely to expedite your resentencing.

Attending a Hearing

The court will hold a hearing where your post-conviction relief attorney and the government may present their arguments. If the prosecution fails to meet their burden of proof or agrees with your petition, then the judge will order a resentencing.

To get your petition started or seek help at an SB 775 hearing, contact the legal team at Spolin Law P.C. at (310) 424-5816.

  1. What Does SB 775 Do?
  2. Who Can Be Resentenced Under SB 775?
  3. How to Win Your SB 775 Petition
  4. Laws Similar to SB 775
  5. How a Premier Appeals Lawyer Can Help

Laws Similar to SB 775

California currently has other bills pending that could affect inmates as well. There are also some recently signed laws that benefit those who have been convicted.

Other laws that affect CA inmates include:

  • SB 1437 – This law came before SB 775 and applies resentencing to felony murder.
  • SB 300 – This bill, called the Sentencing Reform Act of 2021, will reform California’s “felony murder special circumstance” law to remove the death penalty and life without parole.
  • AB 2942 – This law allows the District Attorney’s Office to recommend a resentencing.
  • SB 1393 – This law addresses certain types of prior conviction enhancements faced by defendants.
  • SB 260/261/1308 – These laws promote parole for defendants who were convicted when they were young.
  • SB 620 – This law allows judges to remove firearm enhancements.

Call an attorney at Spolin Law P.C. to learn which laws might apply to your case: (310) 424-5816.

  1. What Does SB 775 Do?
  2. Who Can Be Resentenced Under SB 775?
  3. How to Win Your SB 775 Petition
  4. Laws Similar to SB 775
  5. How a Premier Appeals Lawyer Can Help

How a Premier Appeals Lawyer Can Help

Spolin Law Logo

Spolin Law P.C. is a leading criminal appeals law firm. Their legal team handles post-conviction matters throughout California.

Winning an SB 775 petition requires knowledge of the law and court processes. It’s important to work with an attorney who has considerable experience in appellant law. SB 775 attorney Aaron Spolin is a former prosecutor and an award-winning criminal appeals lawyer. He uses proven strategies to achieve success in cases like these.

Spolin Law P.C. has been able to achieve success for so many clients because our team is made up of some of the best legal professionals in the business. We are passionate about obtaining justice and have a desire to win each case we handle. Call us at (310) 424-5816 and learn how we can handle your SB 775 petition.