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The Supreme Court reversed Appellant’s sentence of life imprisonment with the possibility of parole imposed in connection with his conviction for one count of capital murder, holding that the circuit court erred in applying the Fair Sentencing of Minors Act of 2017 (FSMA), 2017 Ark Acts 2615, to Appellant’s case. Appellant was fifteen years old at the time of the offense. Appellant was originally sentenced to life without the possibility of parole, but following Miller, the circuit court granted Appellant’s petition for writ of habeas corpus, vacated his sentencing order and remanded the case for resentencing. The circuit court sentenced Appellant to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after thirty years based on the FSMA, holding that the FSMA applied retroactively. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the circuit court erred when it retroactively applied the penalty and parole provisions of the FSMA when resentencing Appellant; and (2) Appellant was entitled to a hearing to present evidence pursuant to Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), for consideration and sentencing within the discretionary range for a Class Y felony. View "Segerstrom v. State" on Justia Law

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The phrase "officials or employees of any governmental agency with responsibility for the administration of juvenile justice," as it is used in 34 U.S.C. 12601(a), does not include the judges of a county youth court. The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's judgment in an action under section 12601, alleging that Lauderdale County and its two Youth Court judges operated a "school-to-prison pipeline" and, through their administration of the juvenile justice process, were engaged in patterns or practices that denied juveniles their constitutional rights under the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments. The court held that the district court did not err in dismissing the lawsuit against the judges on the basis that they are outside the scope of Section 12601, and because the government has affirmatively waived any other argument for continuing the lawsuit against the County. View "United States v. Lauderdale County" on Justia Law

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In 2014, the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services (the Department) was ordered to take custody of D.Z.B. and house him in a particular facility pending his delinquency adjudication. Believing that the district court order imposed a duty on it that was in violation of statutory requirements, the Department appealed that order. The court of appeals dismissed the appeal, concluding that the Department, as a non-party to the delinquency proceedings, lacked standing to appeal the order. In reaching that conclusion, the Colorado Supreme Court determined the district court conflated the test to evaluate whether a plaintiff has standing to bring a lawsuit with the test to determine whether a non-party has standing to appeal a decision of a lower court. Accordingly, the Supreme Court reversed and remanded for the division to apply the correct standing analysis and to consider any other remaining arguments. View "Colorado in Interest of D.Z.B." on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether to extend the holding in Tumulty v. State, 666 N.E.2d 394 (Ind. 1996) that a adult criminal defendant cannot challenge the validity of his guilty plea on direct appeal to an agreed delinquency adjudication. The Supreme Court held in this case that before Juvenile may pursue an appeal he must first seek relief from the trial court under Trial Rule 60(B). Specifically, the Supreme Court held (1) juveniles cannot immediately challenge on direct appeal any errors concerning their agreed adjudication, but because juveniles are not eligible for post-conviction relief, before pursuing their constitutional right to appeal, they must first assert any claims of error concerning their agreed judgment in a request for post-judgment relief filed with the juvenile court; and (2) juveniles who seek that relief in post-judgment proceedings have a statutory right to counsel under Ind. Code 31-32. View "J.W. v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the decision of the court of appeals vacating the juvenile judge’s bindover order in this case involving a juvenile’s criminal conduct, holding that it was error to excuse Defendant from preserving his claim of judicial bias. The State charged Defendant with three first-degree felonies in juvenile court. The juvenile judge bound over Defendant, who was sixteen years old when he committed the offenses, to the district court to be tried as an adult. Defendant then pled guilty to lesser charges. While serving his prison sentence, Defendant moved to reinstate the time to appeal his bindover order, which the district court granted. Defendant then argued on appeal that the juvenile judge should have recused herself from his case due to judicial bias. The court of appeals agreed and vacated the bindover order without requiring Defendant to show either that he had preserved his judicial bias claim in the trial court or that an exception to preservation applied. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Defendant’s judicial bias claim was not exempt from the preservation requirement. View "State v. Van Huizen" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal rejecting Defendant’s argument that insufficient evidence supported the juvenile court’s finding that Defendant’s use of a knife with a dull tip and slightly erred edge, referred to as a “butter knife,” violated Cal. Penal Code 245(a)(1), holding that the evidence was insufficient to sustain a finding that the knife at issue was used as a “deadly weapon” for purposes of the statute. Section 245(a)(1) prohibits assaulting another person with a deadly weapon or instrument other than a firearm. On appeal, defendant argued that the juvenile court erred in finding that she violated the statute because she had not used the butter knife at issue in a manner that was “capable of producing and likely to produce death or great bodily injury.” See People v. Aguilar, 16 Cal.4th 1023, 1029 (1997). The Court of Appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) consistent with settled principles, for an object to qualify as a deadly weapon based on how it was used, the defendant must have used the object in a manner both “capable of producing” and “likely to produce” each or great bodily injury; and (2) even if Defendant’s use of the butter knife were capable of causing great bodily injury, there was no substantial evidence that it was likely to do so. View "In re B.M." on Justia Law

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Juvenile defendant appealed a dispositional order adjudging him a ward of the juvenile court and placing him on probation after the trial court sustained a petition for battery with serious bodily injury. The Court of Appeal affirmed a probation condition prohibiting defendant from discussing his case on social media, holding that the condition was neither overbroad nor in violation of defendant's First Amendment rights. In this case, defendant posted on social media bragging about being a 16 year old felon. The court held that the juvenile court had broad discretion in imposing probation conditions and the restriction on social media postings was precise, narrow, and reasonably tailored to address defendant's posting conduct and rehabilitation. View "In re A.A." on Justia Law

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After the trial court granted defendant's petition for writ of habeas corpus and resentenced him to 50 years to life in state prison, defendant appealed. Defendant was originally sentenced to 94 years to life after he was convicted of multiple violent sex offenses when he was 17 years old. The Court of Appeal vacated the sentence under Proposition 57 and held that he was entitled to a hearing in juvenile court regarding whether his case should be transferred to adult criminal court. If the juvenile court determines it would not have transferred defendant to criminal court under current law, the juvenile court shall treat his convictions as juvenile adjudications and impose an appropriate disposition within its usual time frame. If, however, the juvenile court decides it would have transferred defendant to adult criminal court, the case shall be transferred to criminal court, which shall reinstate his convictions but conduct a resentencing hearing on the vacated sentence. In light of People v. Contreras (2018) 4 Cal.5th 349, 383, the criminal court shall consider mitigating circumstances. View "People v. Garcia" on Justia Law

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The juvenile court found minor E.P. committed second degree burglary, possessed graffiti tools, received stolen property, and illegally possessed alcohol. E.P. contended the Court of Appeal should have reversed the burglary finding (count 1) because the evidence was insufficient to show he committed burglary rather than the new crime defined by Proposition 47 as shoplifting. He further argued the Court had to reverse the findings he received stolen property (counts 4-6) because he cannot be charged or convicted of both shoplifting and receiving the same property. After review, the Court of Appeal concluded the evidence was insufficient to show that E.P. committed burglary and, therefore, reverse the true finding on the burglary count. Because E.P. was not charged with shoplifting, there was no bar to charging him with receiving stolen property (counts 4-6) and the court’s true findings on those counts. Accordingly, the Court reversed the finding E.P. committed burglary, but affirmed the findings he received stolen property and illegally possessed an alcoholic beverage. View "In re E.P." on Justia Law

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C.S., then 15 years old, participated in a 2012 gang assault that resulted in the death of the 14-year-old victim. Under then-applicable Welfare and Institutions Code sections 602 and 7071, C.S. was charged in a court of criminal jurisdiction, rather than in juvenile court, with murder, assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury and participation in a street gang. In 2016, a jury convicted C.S. Before C.S.’s sentencing hearing, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act (Proposition 57) was passed and took effect the next day, amending sections 602 and 707, to provide that any allegation of criminal conduct against a person who was under age 18 at the time of an alleged offense must first be filed in juvenile court. There is no longer a presumption that a minor who was 14 or older when he allegedly committed certain offenses, is unfit for juvenile court; the prosecutor must request that the juvenile court transfer the minor to adult/criminal court. C.S.’s case was sent to juvenile court for a retrospective transfer hearing. That court ordered C.S., then 21 years old, transferred to adult/criminal court. The court of appeal vacated. The juvenile court must clearly and explicitly “articulate its evaluative process” by detailing “how it weighed the evidence” and by “identify[ing] the specific facts which persuaded the court” to reach its decision on the statutory criteria. View "C.S. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law