SOURCE: The Mercury News
AUTHOR: By NICO SAVIDGE | Bay Area News Group
PUBLISHED: April 24, 2019 at 6:00 am | UPDATED: April 24, 2019 at 3:14 pm
Armando Carranza, convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, might have thought he’d be out of prison by now.
As of Jan. 1, a controversial new law was supposed to allow Carranza and others like him, who played some role in a crime that led to a killing but were not directly responsible for the death, to challenge their convictions.
But Carranza remains in prison, as district attorneys around the state battle over the new, more lenient “felony murder” law in court.
The new law significantly raises the standard prosecutors must meet to charge accomplices with murder; a prosecutor acknowledged that in Carranza’s case, the higher standard probably could not be met. Supporters of the new statute contend it will ensure that getaway drivers and other low-level accomplices to crimes like robbery that spiral into murders are not punished for killings they did not carry out and never intended to happen. But critics, including many prosecutors, argue the tougher standards will make it harder to win murder convictions in complex cases and allow dangerous offenders back on the streets.