Two months ago, the Supreme Court in People v. Lewis (2021) 11 Cal.5th 952 interpreted Penal Code section 1170.95, which was enacted in Senate Bill 1437, 2018 legislation narrowing murder liability under the felony murder theory and the natural and probable consequences doctrine.
Last week, the Legislature sent to the Governor a bill — SB 775 — that would amend the statute. The bill says that it “[c]odifies the holdings of People v. Lewis (2021) 11 Cal.5th 952, 961-970, regarding petitioners’ right to counsel and the standard for determining the existence of a prima facie case” and that it “[a]ddresses what evidence a court may consider at a resentencing hearing (clarifying the discussion in People v. Lewis, supra, at pp. 970-972).” The votes were relatively close, 41-32 in the Assembly and 27-10 in the Senate.
By our count, there are 327 cases on the court’s docket holding for Lewis. (See here and here.) It’s unclear whether SB 775 would affect those cases. If it would, the court might hold off on disposing of those grant-and-holds so that, if the Governor signs the bill, any reconsideration orders could include references to both the new legislation and Lewis. Earlier this month, the court granted review in and transferred four cases back to the Court of Appeal for reconsideration in light of Lewis alone. (See here.)
[October 2 update: Governor Newsom signed SB 775 on Tuesday.]