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The Supreme Court held that the court of appeals erred in reversing the trial court’s denial of Defendant’s motion to suppress, holding that the suppression motion contained sufficient findings of fact to support the trial court’s conclusion that Defendant knowingly and voluntarily waived his juvenile rights pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-2101 before making certain incriminating statements. The court of appeals determined that the totality of the circumstances set forth in the record did not fully support the trial court’s conclusion that Defendant knowingly, willingly, and understandingly waived his juvenile rights. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the trial court’s findings of fact had adequate evidentiary support, and those findings supported the trial court’s conclusion that Defendant knowingly and voluntarily waived his juvenile rights; and (2) in reaching a contrary conclusion, the court of appeals failed to focus upon the sufficiency of the evidence to support the trial court’s findings of fact and to give proper deference to those findings. View "State v. Saldierna" on Justia Law

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Sixteen-year-old E.G. was petitioned as a delinquent for having committed the offenses of falsifying physical evidence, and possession of drugs. The petitions also alleged that E.G.’s case had been screened and deemed inappropriate for diversion because E.G. was “being petitioned as a delinquent for a felony level charge, and has several previous police contacts where he was involved in disturbances, criminal mischief and reckless conduct.” E.G. filed a motion to suppress, among other things, “all evidence obtained in violation of [his] right against self-incrimination.” Specifically, he contended that he had been subjected to custodial interrogation by police without having been informed of his rights in accordance with Miranda and New Hampshire v. Benoit, 126 N.H. 6 (1985). The trial court denied the motion. Considering the totality of the circumstances of the encounter, the New Hampshire Supreme Court concluded a reasonable juvenile in E.G.’s position would not have believed himself to be in custody, and therefore, that E.G. was not in custody for Miranda purposes when he made the incriminating statements to the officer. View "In re E.G." on Justia Law

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Sixteen-year-old Tyler Watkins was charged with first degree burglary as an adult. The former RCW 13.04.030(1) (2009) provided that juvenile courts had to automatically decline jurisdiction over 16- and 17-year-olds charged with certain offenses. Watkins argued his due process rights were violated because the automatic decline component of the statute applied without him first having a hearing on whether the juvenile court should have retained jurisdiction. The Washington Supreme Court held the automatic decline did not violate due process because juveniles did not have a constitutional right to be tried in juvenile court. View "Washington v. Watkins" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a petition for habeas relief challenging a sentencing enhancement for a prior nonjury juvenile conviction and for a gang-related crime. Petitioner argued that the evidence supporting the gang enhancement was constitutionally insufficient under Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (1979), and that the enhancement for his nonjury juvenile conviction violated Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000). The panel held that it was objectively unreasonable to conclude that the evidence was sufficient for a reasonable jury to find the robbery was committed "in association with" a gang; but it was not objectively unreasonable to conclude that the evidence was sufficient for a reasonable jury to find the robbery was committed "for the benefit of" a gang. The panel also held that the juvenile conviction claim was procedurally barred, and the sentencing enhancements based on nonjury juvenile convictions did not violate any clearly established federal law as determined by the United States Supreme Court. View "Johnson v. Montgomery" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court held that using a prior juvenile adjudication of delinquency for the commission of an offense that would have been felonious assault if committed by an adult as an element of the offense of having a weapon under disability, as set forth in Ohio Rev. Code 2923.13(A)(2), does not violate due process under the Ohio or United States Constitutions. Appellant was indicted on one count of having a weapon while under a disability. The alleged disability stemmed from Appellant’s prior adjudication of delinquency as a juvenile for committing a felonious assault. Appellant filed a motion to dismiss, asserting that his juvenile adjudication could not be used as a predicate for criminal conduct under section 2923.13(A)(2). The trial court denied the motion to dismiss. Appellant was subsequently convicted and sentenced. The court of appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that a previous juvenile adjudication may be an element of the weapons-under-disability offense set forth in section 2923.13(A)(2) without violating due process. View "State v. Carnes" on Justia Law

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In this appeal, the parties disputed the maximum term of official detention that can be imposed upon revocation of juvenile delinquent supervision when the juvenile is more than 21 years old at the time of the revocation proceeding. Defendant argued that the duration of previously ordered terms of official detention is always subtracted from the maximum term prescribed by 18 U.S.C. 5037(c)(2). The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's imposition of the 34 month term of official detention following revocation of defendant's juvenile delinquent supervision. The panel held that the text and structure of section 5037(d)(5), its legislative history, and the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act's motivating purpose supported defendant's construction of section 5037(d)(5). In this case, defendant was entitled to credit for "any term of official detention previously ordered," and thus the maximum term of official detention that could have been imposed upon revocation of his juvenile delinquent supervision was 14 months. View "United States v. Juvenile Male" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs challenged Michigan’s statutory scheme for resentencing individuals who were convicted of first-degree murder and received mandatory sentences of life without parole for acts they committed as children. Plaintiff’s 2016 amended complaint (SAC) addressed the Supreme Court’s decisions in Miller v. Alabama (2012), and Montgomery v. Louisiana, (2016), and Michigan’s 2014 amendments to its juvenile sentencing scheme. The SAC included allegations that Michigan’s policies and procedures governing parole deny Plaintiffs a meaningful opportunity for release in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments (Count IV); that deprivation of Plaintiffs’ good time and disciplinary credits in Section 769.25a(6) violates the Ex Post Facto Clause (Count V); and Defendants have failed to provide the Plaintiffs with access to programming, education, training, and rehabilitation opportunities in violation of the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments (Count VI). The Sixth Circuit reversed the dismissal of Counts IV, V, and VI. On remand, the district court granted Plaintiffs summary judgment on Count V and class certification, and ordered permanent injunctive relief that prohibited Defendants from enforcing or applying the credit elimination. The Sixth Circuit affirmed, finding that Mich. Comp. Laws 769.25a(4)(c), which was enacted in 2014 and eliminates credits for individuals who were sentenced to mandatory life without parole for juvenile first-degree murder convictions, unconstitutional. View "Hill v. Snyder" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of the district court, sitting as the juvenile court, that adjudicated J.R. of having committed two counts of criminal mischief and three counts of theft, holding that the district court acted within its discretion. Specifically, the Court held (1) the court did not abuse its discretion or otherwise err in determining that commitment to a secure juvenile correctional institution was the least restrictive dispositional alternative, absent any explicit finding that J.R.’s commitment was necessary to protect the public; and (2) J.R.’s indeterminate commitment until age eighteen did not offend constitutional principles of proportional punishment. View "State v. J.R." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed the judgment of a single justice denying Juvenile’s petition filed pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 challenging the superior court judge’s denial of Juvenile’s petition for bail review, holding that the single justice did not err or abuse his discretion in denying Juvenile’s petition seeking review of the bail determination. Juvenile was charged in a delinquency complaint with being an accessory to murder after the fact and assault and battery by means of a dangerous weapon. A juvenile court judge set bail at $50,000. Juvenile petitioned for a review of the bail determination. The superior court judge denied the petition. The Supreme Judicial Court affirmed, holding (1) the bail determination was appropriately made, and there was no violation of Juvenile’s rights; and (2) therefore, the single justice did not err in denying Juvenile’s Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 211, 3 petition. View "Juvenile v. Commonwealth" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeals that affirmed Appellant’s convictions and sentence, holding that the juvenile court’s failure to consider and apply Ohio Rev. Code 2152.021 - Ohio’s safe harbor law that benefits certain human-trafficking victims charged with juvenile delinquency - did not invalidate the court’s discretionary transfer of Appellant’s case to adult court. The juvenile court in this case found that Appellant had suffered a “very clear history of human trafficking.” Despite this finding, the juvenile court did not make any finding with respect to whether the charges related to Appellant’s victimization and did not appoint a guardian ad litem for her in the juvenile court. The court then transferred her case to adult court. Appellant pled guilty to aggravated murder and was sentenced to twenty-one years in prison. The court of appeals affirmed, holding that by pleading guilty, Appellant had waived her ability to raise the juvenile court’s error in failing to consider section 2152.021(F). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) because Appellant did not object to the juvenile court’s failure to consider the applicability of section 2152.021(F), the criminal plain-error standard applied; and (2) Appellant did not carry her burden of demonstrating plain error. View "State v. Martin" on Justia Law