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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

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Baldivia committed several criminal offenses when he was 17 years old. In a direct-filed adult criminal proceeding that had been initiated without a juvenile court fitness hearing, Baldivia pleaded no contest to four counts and admitted various enhancement allegations, including Penal Code section 12022.53 firearm enhancement allegations, in exchange for an agreed prison sentence of 17 years and four months and the dismissal of other counts and enhancement allegations. Proposition 57, which bars direct-filed adult criminal proceedings for juveniles and requires a juvenile fitness hearing before a juvenile case may be transferred to adult criminal court, took effect during the pendency of Baldivia’s appeal. The firearm enhancement statutes were also amended to grant courts discretion to strike such enhancements. Baldivia argued that he is entitled to a remand for a juvenile fitness hearing and, if he is found unfit for juvenile court and transferred to adult criminal court, a resentencing hearing at which the court may exercise its new discretion to strike the firearm enhancement. The court of appeal agreed. Baldivia may raise these issues on appeal despite his failure to obtain a certificate of probable cause in support of his appeal because the changes in the law were implicitly incorporated into his plea agreement--his contentions do not challenge the validity of his plea. The Attorney General conceded the merit of Baldivia’s contentions. View "People v. Baldivia" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that juvenile offenders’ sentences of life with the possibility of parole after twenty-five years do not violate the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution, as delineated by the United States Supreme Court in Graham v. Florida, 460 U.S. 48 (2010), Miller v. Alabama, 467 U.S. 460 (2012), and related cases, and therefore, such juvenile offenders are not entitled to resentencing under Fla. Stat. 921.1402. Appellee was convicted of first-degree premeditated murder and related crimes he committed when he was sixteen years old. Appellee was sentenced to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after twenty-five years for the murder. Appellee later filed a motion for postconviction relief asserting that he was entitled to relief under Miller. The trial court summarily denied the motion, determining that Miller was inapplicable because Appellee had the opportunity for release on parole. The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed, concluding that resentencing was required. The Supreme Court quashed the Fourth District’s opinion, holding that juvenile offenders’ sentences of life with the possibility of parole after twenty-five years do no violate Graham’s requirement that juvenile have a meaningful opportunity to receive parole. View "State v. Michel" on Justia Law

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When Brian Bassett was 16 years old, he was living in a "shack" with Nicholaus McDonald after Bassett's parents '"kicked [him] out'" of their home. With McDonald's assistance, Bassett snuck back into his home and shot his mother and father. His brother was drowned in the bathtub, an act that McDonald initially confessed to but later blamed on Bassett at trial. Bassett was convicted of three counts of aggravated first degree murder for the deaths of his mother, father, and brother. The judge commented that Bassett was "a walking advertisement" for the death penalty and sentenced him to three consecutive terms of life in prison without the possibility of parole. At issue here was the constitutionality of sentencing juvenile offenders to life in prison without the possibility of parole or early release. The State appealed a Court of Appeals decision holding that the provision of Washington's Miller-fix statute that allows 16- and 17-year-olds to be sentenced to life without parole violated the Washington Constitution's ban on cruel punishment. The appellate court adopted the categorical approach, rather than Washington's traditional Fain proportionality test, and found that sentencing juvenile offenders to life without parole or early release constituted cruel punishment. The Washington Supreme Court affirmed the Court of Appeals' decision and held that sentencing juvenile offenders to life without parole or early release constitutes cruel punishment and therefore is unconstitutional under article I, section 14 of the Washington Constitution. View "Washington v. Bassett" on Justia Law

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Defendant was convicted of first degree murder, attempted first degree murder, and aggravated battery with a firearm. Defendant was 18 years and 3 months at the time of the offenses, and he was sentenced to 76 years in prison. The appellate court vacated defendant's sentences and remanded for resentencing, holding that the aggregate prison term violated the proportionate penalties clause of the Illinois Constitution. The Supreme Court of Illinois held that the evidence was sufficient to prove that defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt; defendant forfeited his as-applied challenge under the proportionate penalties clause because defendant did not raise his as-applied constitutional challenge in the trial court, an evidentiary hearing was not held on his constitutional claim, and the court declined to remand the matter for an evidentiary hearing; and defendant's facial challenge to his aggregate sentence under the Eighth Amendment failed because, for sentencing purposes, the age of 18 marks the present line between juveniles and adults. Accordingly, the court reversed the appellate court's judgment vacating defendant's sentences and remanded for resentencing. The court otherwise affirmed the judgment. View "People v. Harris" on Justia Law

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The Pennsylvania Supreme Court granted discretionary review to resolve inconsistencies between the Superior Court’s decisions in Commonwealth v. Kemp, 961 A.2d 1247 (Pa. Super. 2008) and Commonwealth v. Nguyen, 116 A.3d 657 (Pa. Super. 2015), specifically with regard to whether information obtained by a police officer during a lawful initial traffic stop may be used to justify re-engagement with the driver after the police officer indicates the driver is free to go, such that consent to search given during that re-engagement is valid. The Supreme Court concluded, under the circumstances of this case, the consent given was valid and suppression of evidence was not warranted. View "In the Int. of: A.A." on Justia Law

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In 2008, a juvenile probation officer swabbed the cheek of Petitioner Ismael Casillas, then a juvenile, to collect a DNA sample. The probation officer’s collection of Casillas’s DNA violated C.R.S. 19-2-925.6(1) because Casillas had been granted a one-year deferred adjudication and he was not otherwise required under the statute to submit a DNA sample. His genetic markers were nevertheless uploaded to the federal Combined DNA Index System (CODIS). Several months after Casillas successfully completed the terms of his deferred adjudication and his juvenile case had been dismissed, law enforcement investigators matched DNA evidence recovered from a stolen vehicle with the sample in the CODIS database taken from Casillas during his juvenile deferred adjudication. As a result of the DNA match, Casillas was identified and charged in connection with a carjacking. Before trial, Casillas moved to suppress all evidence derived from the DNA match, arguing that evidence derived from the unauthorized cheek swab should be excluded as the fruits of an unlawful search in violation of his Fourth Amendment rights. The trial court denied the motion, and a jury later convicted Casillas of criminal mischief. The Colorado Supreme Court granted Casillas’s petition for a writ of certiorari to review whether the exclusionary rule required suppression of the evidence derived from the juvenile probation officer’s unauthorized collection of Casillas’s DNA in this case. The Court concluded that it did, and accordingly, reversed and remanded this case with instructions to vacate Casillas’s conviction. View "Casillas v. Colorado" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the trial court adjudicating B.T.E. a juvenile delinquent on two counts, including attempted aggravated battery, for plotting to shoot up and blow up his high school, holding that there was sufficient evidence to support the attempted aggravated battery conviction. B.T.E. took several steps to implement his plot to blow up his high school, targeting two of his classmates to die. The trial court adjudicated B.T.E. a delinquent for attempted aggravated battery and conspiracy to commit aggravated battery. On appeal, B.T.E. argued that there was insufficient evidence that he took the required “substantial step” toward committing aggravated battery under Indiana’s criminal-attempt statute, and instead, that his actions were “mere preparation.” The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that B.T.E.’s affirmative conduct amounted to a substantial step toward the commission of aggravated battery. View "B.T.E. v. State" on Justia Law

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Iowa closed the Iowa Girls State Training School. Palmer, Director of the Iowa Department of Human Services, subsequently contracted to use the Wisconsin Girls State Training School (Copper Lake). Plaintiffs claim that, since its 2011 opening, Cooper Lake “has had a very high turnover rate of employees,” leading to “over-worked and untrained staff” and has received criticism from Wisconsin judges regarding its “sordid” and “inhumane” treatment of juveniles. Iowa juvenile courts ordered Plaintiffs to be placed at Copper Lake in 2015. Both were 16 years old. Plaintiffs claim that Copper Lake subjected them to prolonged “isolation,” and that they received little or no educational instruction. Both attempted suicide. Plaintiffs also claim they were subjected to excessive force and that staff sprayed them with mace on multiple occasions. Plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. 1983 for cruel and unusual punishment, excessive force, and deprivation of due process. The Seventh Circuit reversed the dismissal of their claims. The district court acted prematurely in deciding Palmer’s entitlement to qualified immunity at the motion to dismiss stage. At the time plaintiffs were allegedly in Palmer’s custody, isolation of pre-trial juvenile detainees not “reasonably related to a legitimate governmental objective”could rise to the level of a constitutional violation. On the record, it is impossible to determine whether such a constitutional violation occurred in plaintiffs’ cases. View "Reed v. Palmer" on Justia Law