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SB 1437 Successful Case, 2019
SB 1437 Successful Case, 2019
Federal Writ of
Habeas Corpus
Gained Key Ruling
$2.5M Breach of
Contract Claim
Successfully Defended Against
Justia Lawyer Rating
LACBA
AVVO
American Association Attorney Advocate
American Association Attorney Advocate
State Bar of California
The National Trial Lawyers Top 40 under 40
The National Trial Lawyers, Top 100 trial lawyers
Super Lawyers Rising Stars

On August 8, 2022, the California Supreme Court decided a long-awaited case that affects SB 1437 Petitions for individuals convicted of Special Circumstance Murder when they ruled in the case of People v. Christopher Strong. Specifically, the Supreme Court ruled that some special circumstance findings do not automatically preclude defendants from SB 1437 relief.

Background Regarding SB 1437

dreamstime_xl_15103637-750x422-1-300x169In 2019, SB 1437 was enacted, amending Penal Code § 188 and § 189 and creating Penal Code § 1170.95. Pursuant to SB 1437, accomplice liability for felony murder and murder by way of the natural and probable consequence doctrine was substantially changed, allowing individuals convicted to seek to vacate their murder convictions and obtain resentencing relief. Resentencing is available for individuals convicted of murder, attempted murder, and/or manslaughter if they demonstrate:

Another Barhoma Law, P.C. Client is spared from his sentence, when Governor Newsom granted his Application for Commutation of Sentence. His family and friends were elated to hear that the Barhoma Law, P.C. client was sparred from his Life Without the Possibility of Parole sentence. Barhoma Law, P.C. represented the client through the Clemency process, where we advocated for his rights before the Parole Board and the Supreme Court of California.

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In granting the Application for Commutation of Sentence, Governor Newsom indicated the following about Barhoma Law, P.C.’s client:

In 1986, Jose Garcia and his crime partners kidnapped two victims who owed them money, held them for ransom, and beat them. On April 26, 1988, the Superior Court of California, County of Los Angeles, sentenced Mr. Garcia to life without the possibility of parole for kidnapping for ransom, five years for kidnapping, plus four years of sentence enhancements.

A Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus has long been the safety net that ensures the United States criminal justice system remains a fair one. However, over recent years, both lawmakers and judges have restricted access to the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus. In large part, this is due to the pervasive belief that judges and juries “got it right” the first time and that giving inmates a second bite at the apple opens to door to frivolous litigation. However, the Great Writ’s protections are instrumental in ensuring fairness and equality in what is now understood to be an imperfect system. In this article, leading California Appeals lawyers of Barhoma Law, P.C. discuss recent changes to the Petition for a Writ of Habeas Corpus.

Over the past 50 years, the United State Supreme Court has implemented a wide range of restrictions on inmates’ access to the writ of habeas corpus. For example, over the past few decades, the U.S. Supreme court has held that Fourth Amendment violations cannot be relitigated through a writ of habeas corpus. The Court has also determined that the Great Writ can only be used to enforce existing constitutional rights and that federal courts cannot hear claims through a habeas petition unless the inmate presented (and exhausted) those claims in state court.

However, perhaps the most significant law affecting the writ of habeas corpus over the last century was the Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, or AEDPA. Under AEDPA, inmates have just one year to file a federal habeas petition after exhausting their state-court remedies. AEDPA also imposes a strict requirement that an inmate includes all their claims in a single filing, meaning a second or successive writ of habeas corpus is frequently summarily denied unless it raises new and compelling evidence.

Another Barhoma Law, P.C. client is fortunate to be successfully resentenced out of Riverside County pursuant to Senate Bill 483 and Penal Code § 1170.03.

On April 15, 2022, after nearly 9-months of review, the California Superior Court of Rancho Cucamonga successfully resentenced a Barhoma Law, P.C., sparing him from an illegitimate sentence. The San Bernardino Superior resentencing Court issued Barhoma Law, P.C. a new Abstract of Judgment amending our client’s sentence.

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In 2012, the client was initially charged with three (3) counts of robbery (Penal Code1 § 211), each with allegations of the robberies being committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang (§ 186.22, subd. (b)(1)(C)) and use of a firearm (§ 12022.53, subds. (b), (e)(1)). He was also charged with a single count of being a prohibited person (i.e., felon or addict) in possession of a firearm (§ 29800, subd. (a)) with a criminal street gang enhancement (§ 186.22, subd. (b)(1)(A)). Further, it was alleged that he had suffered a prior prison term (§ 667.5, subd. (b)).

Recently, California criminal appeals attorney Matthew Barhoma appeared on CourtTV to discuss Governor Newsome’s recent decision not to sign for the release of Leslie Van Houten, despite the parole board’s decision that she should be released on parole. Now 72 years old, Leslie Van Houten was given a life sentence for helping Charles Manson carry out the infamous LaBianca murders back in August 1969. At the time, Van Houten was 19 years old.

In 2020, Van Houten obtained a recommendation from the parole board that she should be released from prison. The board found that she “does not pose an unreasonable risk to public safety” and that she has shown remorse for her actions. However, Governor Newsome refused to sign off on Van Houten’s release, finding that, in his opinion, she posed an unreasonable danger if released. This marks the fifth time the parole board has found Van Houten should be released on parole, and the fifth time the sitting governor reversed the parole board’s decision.

Governors in every state have broad power to grant clemency to an inmate at their discretion. However, California is unique in that it is one of just a few states that allows the governor to reverse a parole board’s decision regarding any inmate who was sentenced to an indeterminate sentence of life in prison with the possibility of parole. Attorney Barhoma notes, “Ultimately, the governor is exercising his discretion. I think that he is looking at the criteria quite frankly. There may be public hysteria. She possibly poses a further threat. The way she describes her admiration for Mason maybe really hasn’t changed. So, here are a lot of twists and turns in this.” Here is the interview with Attorney Matthew Barhoma, California Appellate attorney:

ABC7 publishes an article covering California Criminal Appeals attorney, Matthew Barhoma’s work in a re-sentencing of his client pursuant to Penal Code 1170(d)(1) and AB 2942.

The article highlights a recent success for Barhoma Law, P.C., where the Firm successfully reduced a client’s sentence just mere 9 months after retaining the Firm. Our client, Mr. Earl Snoddy, spent the last 27-years behind bars for a crime he likely did not commit. The Firm filed a conviction integrity request. In addition, Mr. Snoddy, through his counsel, sought to recall and renegotiate on the sentence by submitting an AB 2942 / Penal Code § 1170(d)(1) petition. The matter had deep implications among the California Three Strike laws and various enhancements, as discussed by the ABC7 article and coverage on the matter.

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Family Reunited

Renowned California Criminal Appeals Lawyer Comments on Recent Criminal Justice Headlines

Recently, founder of Barhoma Law, P.C. Attorney Matthew Barhoma, appeared on Court TV to discuss several of the nation’s highest-profile criminal cases.

 Ahmaud Arbery

Barhoma Law, P.C., client, Earl Snoddy, is resentenced by the state court, making him a free man just 9 months after retaining Barhoma Law, P.C., the leading California Appeals and Post-Conviction law firm.

Mr. Earl Snoddy spent 27-years behind bars. Barhoma Law, P.C. successfully recalled his sentence pursuant to Penal Code § 1170(d)(1)/AB 2942. Barhoma Law, P.C. reached a joint-stipulation with the Los Angeles District Attorney’s as to Mr. Earl Snoddy’s new sentence. Due to this case, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office has hired a Re-entry specialist with demonstrated decades of experience. Attorney Matthew Barhoma and Barhoma Law, P.C. team members worked alongside the re-entry specialist to enroll Mr. Snoddy in a re-entry program, where he will learn to become reintegrated into everyday society.

Barhoma Law, P.C. additionally worked closely with attorneys within the DA’s office, who felt passionate about the merits of this conviction.

While California is on the cutting-edge of criminal justice reform, in large part, this is due to the extremely harsh sentencing laws enacted in decades past. Most notably, California’s three strikes law, codified in Penal Code § 667, provides for increasingly harsh sentences for those who have been convicted of certain felony crimes. In some cases, the California three strikes law can result in an additional 25-year to life sentence on top of the sentence for the most recent conviction.

The History of the California Three Strikes Law

Back in 1994, during the height of the war on drugs and while many California cities were plagued by the highest rate of violent crime in history, Governor Wilson signed AB 971 into law. AB 971 was known as the “Three Strike and You’re Out” law or, more commonly, as the “Three Strikes Law.”

The effects of a felony conviction are severe and remain with you for life. However, by obtaining a certificate of rehabilitation, inmates can regain many of the liberties they’ve been deprived of due to their conviction. While certificates of rehabilitation are not new, by any means, they are underutilized, in large part, because they are misunderstood. Read on to learn more about certificates of rehabilitation and how to obtain one.

What Is a Certificates of Rehabilitation?

A certificate of rehabilitation is a court determination that a former inmate has been fully rehabilitated. In this way, a certificate of rehabilitation does not help currently incarcerated inmates; however, it can help formerly incarcerated inmates on their journey to rebuild their lives and become contributing members of society.

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