Senate Bill 1437, passed back in 2019, significantly changed how California homicide offenses were charged. More specifically, SB 1437 prohibited prosecutions for first- or second-degree murder for someone who was “not the actual killer, did not act with the intent to kill, or was not a major participant in the underlying felony who acted with reckless indifference to human life.”
As a result of SB 1437’s passage, many defendants who were convicted of murder crimes were eligible to have their convictions reviewed by the court to determine if they were eligible for relief. However, there is a major gap in SB 1437, because it does not apply to those found guilty of California manslaughter offenses.
While, initially, it may seem like this makes sense, as those convicted of murder are likely serving much longer sentences, a recent article highlights the current inequities of SB 1437. The article describes the case of a man who was alleged to have been involved in a robbery of a brothel. Evidently, the defendant waited outside as his friend ran inside the brothel alone, shooting and killing one of the occupants.