Unconstitutionally Redefining Murder: CA Legislature takes a significant overstep with S.B. 1437
Senate Bill 1437 (“S.B. 1437”), effective January 1, 2019, substantially changed the law relating to accomplice liability under the felony murder rule (the “FMR”) and the doctrine of natural and probable consequences. State prosecutors have challenged S.B. 1437 as an unconstitutional amendment of Propositions 7 and 115, and as a violation of the separation of powers. Polarized rulings from the state’s trial courts suggest a dispositive California Supreme Court decision is forthcoming to address the divide. Social policy considerations weigh heavily on the controversial issues engendered by this bill and will likely influence adjudication of the legislature’s authority to enact S.B. 1437, and the constitutionality of the substantive changes made to accomplice liability under the FMR. For the reasons presented in this article, opponents of the bill present a more compelling argument for the bill’s unconstitutionality.
Rifkind, Alex, "Unconstitutionally Redefining Murder: CA Legislature takes a significant overstep with S.B. 1437" (2019). GGU Law Review Blog. 66.