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In this case, a juvenile, "T.B." texted a picture of his erect penis to two underage girls and then repeatedly asked the girls to text him naked pictures of themselves. After initially resisting, both girls eventually complied and texted nude selfies to the juvenile. T.B. kept these sexts on his cell phone, where they were discovered by law enforcement in 2013. The question this case presented was whether T.B. could be adjudicated delinquent for sexual exploitation of a child under section 18-6-403(3), C.R.S. (2018), for possessing these images. At a bench trial, T.B. argued that the prosecution failed to prove that he knowingly possessed erotic nudity for the purpose of the overt sexual gratification of a “person involved.” The court rejected this argument and adjudicated T.B. delinquent on both counts. A split court of appeals affirmed. The Colorado Supreme Court granted review to determine the proper standard of review for an unpreserved sufficiency of the evidence claim and to review whether the court of appeals misconstrued section 18-6-403(3)(b.5) in holding the evidence was sufficient to support T.B.’s adjudication for sexual exploitation of a child. The Court was satisfied that the evidence was sufficient to support the trial court's conclusion that the images constituted “erotic nudity” (and therefore “sexually exploitative material”) for purposes of the sexual exploitation of a child statute. View "Colorado in the Interest of T.B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part the order of the circuit court denying Petitioner's petition for a writ of habeas corpus, holding that the circuit court erred in finding that W.Va. Code 61-11-23(b) of the Juvenile Sentencing Reform Act did not apply retroactively to Petitioner's sentence. Petitioner, who was sixteen years old at the time he committed the offenses, was convicted of sexual assault in the first degree and sexual abuse by a parent, guardian, custodian, or person in a position of trust. The circuit court sentenced Petitioner to an aggregate sentence of thirty-five to seventy-five years of incarceration and fifty years of supervised release. The court further required Petitioner to register as a sexual offender for his lifetime. After the legislature enacted the Act, Petitioner brought this habeas corpus proceeding. The circuit court denied relief. The Supreme Court held (1) the circuit court erred in concluding that the legislature did not intend for section 61-11-23(b) to be applied retroactively; (2) Petitioner failed to establish that the State provided false and perjured testimony; and (3) Petitioner's sentence was not disproportionate. View "Christopher J. v. Ames" on Justia Law

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After being charged with first degree murder as an adult in district court, Brandon Brown exercised his statutory right to request a “reverse transfer” to juvenile court. In doing so, he asked the Colorado Supreme Court to address whether he could temporarily waive privilege as to certain information at the reverse-transfer hearing without suffering a continued waiver at trial. The Court held he could not: nothing in the reverse-transfer statute gave Brown the ability to make such a limited waiver. "And, neither common law scope-of-waiver limitations nor constitutional principles regarding impermissibly burdening rights changes that result. By disclosing otherwise privileged information in open court during a reverse-transfer hearing, Brown would waive privilege as to any such information at trial." View "Colorado v. Brown" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed Defendant's sentence of three consecutive terms of life imprisonment, with the possibility of parole after forty-five years, in connection with his conviction of three counts of murder in the first degree, holding that the sentence was within constitutional bounds. Defendant was a juvenile homicide offender and sought resentencing when he was well into adulthood. After the Supreme Judicial Court decided Commonwealth v. Costa, 472 Mass. 139 (2015), the Commonwealth conceded that Defendant was entitled to a resentencing hearing. After a hearing, the sentencing judge reinstated Defendant's sentence. Defendant then filed an application with the Supreme Court pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 278, 33E for leave to appeal from the resentencing judge's ruling, as well as a motion for direct entry of the appeal. The single justice directed entry of the appeal on the question of whether a juvenile homicide offender may be required to serve forty-five years in prison before his first opportunity to seek release based on rehabilitation. The Supreme Judicial Court held that Defendant's sentence did not constitute cruel or unusual punishment in violation of article 26 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. View "Commonwealth v. LaPlante" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal granting Anthony Cook's petition for writ of habeas corpus and remanded the matter to the court of appeal with directions to deny the petition, holding that resort to a petition for writ of habeas corpus was unnecessary in this case, at least in the first instance. Cook was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and one count of premeditated attempted murder. Cook, who was seventeen years old when he committed the murders, was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole for the attempted murder and five consecutive terms of twenty-five years to life for the murders and enhancements. Cook later filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus arguing that his sentence was cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment and Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012). The court of appeal granted the writ, holding that, in light of People v. Franklin, 63 Cal.4th 261 (2016), Cook was entitled to make a record before the superior court of mitigating evidence tied to his youth. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Cal. Penal Code 1203.01 provides an adequate remedy at law to preserve evidence of youth-related factors. View "In re Cook" on Justia Law

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J.M. (aged 14) and another female minor attacked minor Jane at a cemetery. They took turns slapping, punching and kicking Jane and pulling her hair. Jane estimated that the attack lasted 10 minutes; her injuries included a fractured skull and broken nose. S.S. and J.M. recorded cell phone videos of the attack and shared them with friends. J.M. told a sheriff’s deputy that she wanted to take responsibility. J.M. entered into a plea agreement, admitting a felony charge of torture (Pen. Code, 206). The juvenile court declared J.M. a ward of the court (Welfare and Institutions Code section 6021) and committed her to the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) for a maximum term of seven years. The court of appeal denied a habeas corpus petition, in which J.M. asserted ineffective assistance and that her admission was involuntary because it was based on counsel's advice that there was no minimum amount of time she would need to serve, that she could be released whenever her counselor determined she was ready for release, and that she would likely serve only about half of her term. The court held that mental health diversion under Penal Code sections 1001.35 and 1001.36 does not apply to juveniles in delinquency proceedings. The court ordered that the prohibition against J.M. possessing a “weapon” until age 30 be amended to substitute “firearm” for “weapon.” View "In re J.M." on Justia Law

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In this post-conviction proceeding, petitioner Lydell White, a juvenile offender, was convicted along with his twin brother Laycelle for aggravated murder and murder. He contended on petition for post-conviction relief that the 800-month sentence he was serving for a single homicide was the functional equivalent of life without parole and was imposed without a hearing that satisfied the procedural and substantive requirements of the Eighth Amendment. The Oregon Supreme Court agreed, finding petitioner was not procedurally barred from seeking post-conviction relief, and that his sentence was subject to the protections of Miller v. Alabama, 567 US 460 (2012). “Because this record does not convince us that the sentencing court determined that petitioner’s crime reflects irreparable corruption, we reverse the decisions of the Court of Appeals and the post-conviction court and remand to the post-conviction court for further proceedings.” View "White v. Premo" on Justia Law

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Along with his twin brother, Lydell, petitioner Laycelle White was charged with and convicted of aggravated murder and murder, receiving a sentence of life with the possibility of parole for the murder of one victim and an 800-month determinate sentence for the murder of the other. At the time, petitioner was 15 years old. In a petition for post-conviction relief, petitioner argued the 800-month sentence for one murder was a de facto life sentence without parole that had to comport with the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Miller v. Alabama, 567 US 460 (2012). Petitioner argued the record in this case, decided 17 years before Miller, did not establish that the trial court made the required “irreparable corruption” finding and that his sentence therefore was invalid. The Oregon Supreme Court agreed with this reasoning and reversed the decisions of the Court of Appeals, and of the post-conviction court, and remanded to the post-conviction court for further proceedings. View "White v. Premo" on Justia Law

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A juvenile challenged his suspended manifest injustice disposition. The Court of Appeals dismissed his claim on ripeness grounds; the juvenile disagreed his claim was not yet ripe. Furthermore, the juvenile argued the trial court applied the wrong standard of proof during his sentencing hearing, and as a result, improperly imposed the manifest injustice disposition. The juvenile was convicted on two counts of unlawful imprisonment with sexual motivation, and one count of fourth degree assault without sexual motivation. Since he had no prior criminal history, the State recommended, and the trial court adopted, a manifest injustice disposition of 36 weeks' confinement to be suspended by a special sex offender disposition alternative (SSODA). The parties to this case agreed this case was moot, given the juvenile served his sentence by the time the matter reached the Washington Supreme Court. However, finding the issue presented was one of "continuing and substantial interest," the Washington Supreme Court considered the case, determining that the appropriate standard of proof, as found in controlling Washington case law, was "clear and convincing," or the civil equivalent of the criminal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. The Supreme Court held manifest injustice dispositions suspended by SSODA are reviewable when imposed - juveniles do not need to wait for the disposition to be executed before challenging it. Therefore, the Court of Appeals' ruling to the contrary was overturned. The Court affirmed the juvenile's conviction and sentence. View "Washington v. T.J.S.-M." on Justia Law

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The juvenile court found E.P. committed second degree burglary, possessed graffiti tools, received stolen property, and illegally possessed an alcoholic beverage. The Court of Appeal initially concluded that the evidence was insufficient to show that E.P. committed burglary when he stole items from locker rooms in a public ice hockey facility because the prosecution failed to prove that E.P. did not commit the new crime of shoplifting, as defined in Proposition 47. Because E.P. was not charged with shoplifting, the Court also concluded there was no bar to charging him with receiving stolen property. After the Court of Appeal issued its opinion, the California Supreme Court in California v. Colbert, 6 Cal.5th 596 (2019), held that “entering an interior room that is objectively identifiable as off-limits to the public with intent to steal therefrom is not shoplifting, but instead remains punishable as burglary.” The Supreme Court transferred the matter to the Court of Appeal with directions to vacate its decision and reconsider the case in light of Colbert. After review, the appellate court found Colbert did not change its conclusion that the prosecution failed to prove E.P. committed burglary. The evidence showed the locker rooms of the public ice hockey facility were not “objectively identifiable as off-limits to the public.” 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