Apr. 6, 2023 – In re Ferrell (Supreme Ct., S265798)

The Supreme Court holds that petitioner is entitled to habeas relief based on his claim that the jury at his trial was instructed on a theory of second-degree felony murder – i.e., that the killing occurred during his willful discharge of a firearm in a grossly negligent manner (PC 246.3) – that was subsequently invalidated by People v. Chun (2009) 45 Cal.4th 1172. The court rejects CDCR’s argument that the instructional error was harmless beyond a reasonable doubt given the jury’s true finding on a firearm enhancement under PC 12022.53(d) and the overall evidence of implied malice.