California v. CanizalesAnnotate this Case
A jury convicted defendants, Michael Canizales and KeAndre Windfield of first degree murder, during which a principal discharged a firearm proximately causing death, and two counts of attempted willful, premeditated and deliberate murder, during which a principal discharged a firearm. The jury found that all the offenses were committed for the benefit of a criminal street gang. Canizales was sentenced to 25 years to life and two terms of 15 years to life and Windfield was sentenced to two terms of 25 years to life and two terms of 15 years to life plus 40 years. They appealed, claiming jury instruction and sentencing errors. The Court of Appeal rejected their contentions. But since the Court originally decided this case, the California Supreme Court in "California v. Chiu," (59 Cal.4th 155 (2014)) held that "a defendant cannot be convicted of first degree premeditated murder under the natural and probable consequences doctrine." Because the Court of Appeal could not conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the jury based its verdict of first degree murder for Canizales on the legally valid theory that he aided and abetted premeditated and deliberate murder, the Court reversed his conviction for that offense and offered the State the opportunity to retry him for first degree murder as an aider and abettor of that offense or to accept a reduction to second degree murder.