Last summer we covered a California bill up for consideration that would significantly alter the felony murder law. At the time, we pointed out a startling statistic from The Felony Murder Elimination Project, that 72 percent of women in California serving life sentences for murder are not the murderer.
As of January 1, 2019, Senate Bill 1437 went into effect. The law prohibits a participant in the perpetration or attempted perpetration of one of the specified first-degree murder felonies in which a death occurs from being liable for murder unless specific caveats are met. The legislation also provides a means of vacating the conviction and resentencing a defendant when a complaint, information, or indictment was filed against the defendant that allowed the prosecution to proceed under a theory of first-degree felony murder.
The Accomplice Liability for Felony Murder (2017-2018) law means that a good many people serving life sentences in California could soon find themselves free.
Overturning A Felony Murder Conviction
Last week, a Contra Costa County judge following the mandate of Senate Bill 1437 overturned a San Quentin State Prison inmate’s felony murder conviction, The San Francisco Chronicle reports. On Friday, Judge Laurel Brady vacated Adnan Khan’s murder conviction and resentenced him on his robbery conviction. The vacated conviction came in the wake of former Gov. Jerry Brown commuting Khan’s sentence from 25 years to life to 15 years to life in December. The move makes Khan the first inmate in California to be released under new CA murder law.
Mr. Khan had served 15 years in San Quentin for his involvement in a robbery in 2003 that involved a fatal stabbing, according to the article. While in prison, Adnan spearheaded a media project titled FirstWatch; the film was about incarcerated men in San Quentin.
“Adnan’s case was the inspiration for SB1437, and for Adnan to be the first one to be released, it feels like things have come full circle,” said Kate Chatfield, Khan’s attorney.
Individuals currently serving felony murder conviction sentences in California, but did not commit the killing, are eligible for resentencing on a case-by-case basis.
Orange County Homicide Defense Attorney
Those facing a murder charge find themselves in the most severe form of legal jeopardy; it is vital that such people have the best representation possible. With more than 30 years of extensive experience in homicide defense, The Law Office of Ronald G. Brower can provide the quality representation you or a loved one requires. Please contact us today.