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The district court held that when a minor's parents bring a lawsuit on his behalf as next friends, the statute of limitations for those claims is not tolled during his period of minority if they were aggressively litigated through the prior lawsuit. The Fifth Circuit held that the district court improperly created this exception to Texas's tolling provision to its statute of limitations, and thus reversed the dismissal of plaintiff's claims related to serious and sustained injuries he suffered while he was detained at a juvenile detention center. The court held that the district court erred by fashioning a rule of its own making to find that plaintiff forfeited the protection of Texas's tolling provision when his parents had brought suit as next friends. The court remanded for further proceedings, including consideration of res judicata and other issues presented. View "Clyce v. Butler" on Justia Law

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The phrase “serious bodily harm” in the youthful offender statute, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 119, 54 contemplates harm to human beings, not animals. A grand jury returned two youthful offender indictments against Juvenile, charging him with cruelty to animals and bestiality. The juvenile court allowed Juvenile’s motion to dismiss, ruling that the phrase “serious bodily harm” in the youthful offender statute refers only to human victims. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding that the “serious bodily harm” referenced in the statute does not apply to animals, and therefore, Juvenile’s conduct did not meet the requirements of the statute. View "Commonwealth v. J.A." on Justia Law

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Barry Garcia appealed a district court order summarily dismissing his application for post-conviction relief. A juvenile petition was filed alleging Garcia had committed murder, attempted robbery, aggravated assault, and criminal street gang crime. At the State's request, the court transferred Garcia to adult court for trial. At trial, the district court dismissed the robbery and criminal street gang charges. The jury found Garcia guilty of murder, a class AA felony, and aggravated assault, a class C felony. After a sentencing hearing, the district court sentenced Garcia to life imprisonment without parole on the murder conviction, and to a concurrent five years' imprisonment on the aggravated assault conviction. Garcia appealed, arguing his sentence constituted cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The North Dakota Supreme Court concluded the district court's 1996 sentencing of Garcia to life imprisonment without parole did not violate the Eighth Amendment. The Court affirmed the district court's order summarily dismissing Garcia's application for post-conviction relief. View "Garcia v. North Dakota" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the county court denying, without a hearing, a juvenile’s petition for relief under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3. The juvenile was charged with making a bomb threat. A judge in the juvenile court arraigned the juvenile under the belief that she lacked authority to consider a motion to dismiss the complaint prior to arraignment. Upon reconsideration, the judge determined that she did have authority to dismiss before arraignment, vacated the arraignment of the juvenile, and directed the probation department to expunge the juvenile court’s activity record information. Thereafter, the judge again reversed herself, reinstated the juvenile’s arraignment and vacated the expungement order. The juvenile sought relief from this interlocutory ruling pursuant to this Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 petition. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the circumstances of this case did not entitle the juvenile as a matter of right to invoke the court’s extraordinary power under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3. View "Benjamin B. v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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One year ago, in Deal v. Commissioner of Correction, 475 Mass. 307 (2016) (Deal I), the Supreme Judicial Court concluded that the procedure used by the Department of Correction to determine the security classification of juvenile homicide offenders violated Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 119, 72B, as amended by St. 2014 ch. 189, 2, which prohibits the Department from categorically barring juvenile homicide offenders from being placed in minimum security facilities. Since then, the Department has developed a modified process for classifying juvenile homicide offenders. Petitioners - juvenile homicide offenders who were also petitioners in Deal I - challenged that modified process in this case. The Supreme Court held that, after applying the holding in Deal I, the Department continued to fall short of the requirements of section 72B where the Department’s written explanations for blocking the majority of objectively qualifying juvenile homicide offenders from placement in a minimum security facility do not go far enough to ensure that the classification procedure is actually individualized and that no juvenile homicide offender is categorically barred from classification to a minimum security facility. View "Deal v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

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Defendant's appeal of her life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) sentence was dismissed as moot in light of Senate Bill No. 394, which provides a youth offender parole hearing to defendant and others similarly situated. Prior to SB 394, Penal Code section 3051 provided that juvenile offenders who were sentenced to LWOP would die in prison without the opportunity for a parole suitability hearing. SB 394 amended section 3051 to expressly provide a youth offender such as defendant a suitability hearing after 25 years of incarceration. View "People v. Lozano" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the State’s appeal from the circuit court’s use of three nonmodel jury instructions at Appellee’s resentencing hearing, holding that the State failed to demonstrate that the appeal involved the correct and uniform administration of the law or that this was a proper State appeal. Appellee was resentenced after his life sentence was vacated for failure to comport with Miller v. Alabama, 467 U.S. 460 (2012). During the resentencing hearing, the circuit court instructed the jury with three nonmodel instructions based upon the Miller decision. The jury returned a sentence of forty years’ imprisonment, and the circuit court entered an order reducing Appellee’s sentence accordingly. The State appealed, arguing that the use of the nonmodel jury instruction was error. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that this was not a proper State appeal. View "State v. Lasley" on Justia Law

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A 2015 petition for adjudication of wardship charged the minor, JB, with criminal trespass to a motor vehicle, a Class A misdemeanor (720 ILCS 5/21-2). JB pled guilty. The circuit court sentenced him to 12 months’ court supervision, 30 days’ stayed detention, and community service, informing him that under section 5-710(1)(b), if he violated the terms of his supervision, it could place him on probation or hold him in custody for up to 30 days or send him to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). At the time, the maximum sentence for a Class A misdemeanor was less than one year of incarceration. During the months that followed, JB repeatedly left his placement, had warrants issued for his arrest, served time in the juvenile temporary detention center, and was repeatedly warned that he could be sentenced to the DJJ. In February 2016, the court found it to be in JB’s best interest to commit him to the DJJ. JB argued that an amendment to section 5-710(1)(b) of the Juvenile Court Act, effective on January 1, 2016, precluded the court from committing him to the DJJ for his misdemeanor offense. The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the commitment order. Section 5-720(4) focuses on the sentences available under section 5-710 at the time of a minor’s initial sentence. JB’s conduct of leaving his residential placement merely provided the grounds for revoking his probation; the court did not sentence him to the DJJ for a new offense. The commitment sentence constituted a resentencing for the original, underlying offense. View "In re Jarquan B." on Justia Law

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Two wardship petitions, filed in San Mateo County in 2013, charged the minor, W.R. with possession of a dagger, battery, and resisting arrest, and with vandalism. He had several probation violations. San Francisco County filed a third petition, alleging robbery, assault likely to cause great bodily injury, and false personation. The court found the allegations not true and returned the case to San Mateo County, where fourth and fifth petitions were filed. San Francisco accepted a transfer of all cases after a sixth petition. After a seventh petition, the court ordered out-of-state placement. After he was returned to San Francisco, W.R. moved to seal his juvenile records. (Welfare and Institutions Code 786.) The court terminated the misdemeanor probation terms satisfactorily and dismissed the single felony count. The district attorney argued that section 786 did not authorize the sealing of the records pertaining to one 2015 petition for which W.R. was not found competent and, therefore, did not satisfactorily complete probation. The court granted the minor’s request in part but declined to seal the felony and 2015 petition's records. The court of appeal reversed in part. The statute does not reference the entire juvenile court file, as W.R. claimed, but the court: should have sealed the records in a case dismissed as part of a plea bargain; had discretion to seal records pertaining to another petition in which the allegations were found not true; but did not have discretion to seal records pertaining to a petition filed after the last petition for which the minor was placed on probation. W.R. may seek to have those records sealed under section 781. View "In re W.R." on Justia Law

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The juvenile court found that Dean W. (the ward) had committed a misdemeanor violation of Vehicle Code section 23152, driving under the influence. He was declared a ward of the court and placed on probation. The ward signed an advisement pursuant to Vehicle Code section 23593 and California v. Watson, 30 Cal.3d 290 (1981). The court later found that the ward had successfully completed his probation and terminated his wardship. Furthermore, the court granted the ward’s request to seal his juvenile court records, except for one document regarding his acknowledgment that he knew driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol was dangerous to human life (his "Watson" advisement). The issue before the Court of Appeal was whether the trial court properly decided not to seal the ward’s juvenile record in full. The Court of Appeal concluded after review that the Welfare and Institutions Code allows minors who have completed their rehabilitation to have “all” records of their juvenile adjudication sealed. The Vehicle Code authorizes criminal prosecutors to use a criminal defendant’s acknowledgment of the dangerousness of driving under the influence as evidence of implied malice in a later second-degree murder case. Here, the ward’s right to have all of his juvenile records sealed includes the ward’s acknowledgment​ of the dangerousness of driving under the influence. Therefore, the Court reversed the juvenile court’s order, with directions to seal the entirety of the ward’s records, to ensure that other government agencies specified in the statute seal the ward’s records, and to consider whether other government agencies also be ordered to do so. View "In re Dean W." on Justia Law