Senator Skinner Issues Statement on Appellate Court Decision Upholding California’s New Felony-Murder Law

November 19, 2019

State Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, released the following statement on two rulings today by California’s Fourth Appellate District Court, upholding the constitutionality of her 2018 legislation, Senate Bill 1437:

“Justice won today,” Skinner said. “The appellate court got it right: SB 1437, which reformed California’s old, unfair felony-murder rule, is clearly constitutional.

“With this decisive decision, I urge district attorneys throughout California to drop their challenges and join with AG Xavier Becerra in enforcing the state’s new felony-murder statute.”

SB 1437 won approval from the state Legislature and was signed into law in 2018 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown. It reformed the state’s felony-murder rule so that people can no longer be convicted of murder if they didn’t kill anyone and were not a major participant in the felony during which the murder occurred. SB 1437 also allows people who were convicted and sentenced under the old felony-murder rule to petition the court for resentencing.

Today, the Fourth Appellate District ruled in two decisions that SB 1437 is constitutional and turned down challenges to the new law by San Diego prosecutors who argued that it unlawfully amended two prior statewide ballot measures.


Sen. Nancy Skinner represents the 9th Senate District and is the chair of the Senate Public Safety Committee and the Public Safety Budget Committee.