by
The Eleventh Circuit affirmed defendant's sentence of 685 months in prison for multiple armed robbery and carjacking crimes committed while he was a juvenile. The court held that defendant did not assert any valid ground for vacating his convictions where the district court did not err in its suppression rulings; the district court properly dismissed defendant's original indictment without prejudice; defendant's second indictment was timely; and the district court's evidentiary rulings did not warrant reversal. The court also held that the district court did not err in sentencing defendant. In this case, defendant's sentence complied with Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), because defendant had some meaningful opportunity to obtain release during his lifetime. Finally, defendant's sentence was not vindictive. View "United States v. Mathurin" on Justia Law

by
A jury found defendant Armando Pineda, Jr. guilty of second degree murder for shooting the patriarch of a neighboring family, Rogelio Islas (Rogelio). Defendant was 17 years old at the time of the crime, and the district attorney directly filed the charge against him in a court of criminal jurisdiction, rather than a juvenile court. Owing to that filing and the subsequent repeal of “direct file” procedures effected by Section 4 of the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 (Proposition 57), the issue presented for the Court of Appeal was an issue still pending on the California Supreme Court‘s docket: whether the changes worked by Section 4 applied to defendant because his conviction was not yet final. In the unpublished portion of its opinion, the Court also considered defendant‘s additional arguments on appeal: (1) that the trial court abused its discretion by denying his motion to continue the trial; (2) the court should have instructed the jury on third party flight as consciousness of guilt (both defendant and his father fled the scene of the crime, and the defense at trial was that the father was the shooter); and (3) the court should have given defendant‘s proposed pinpoint instruction on provocation as relevant to voluntary manslaughter. The judgment was conditionally reversed and remanded for the juvenile court to conduct a fitness hearing under Welfare and Institutions Code section 707. If, after a fitness hearing, the juvenile court determined that it would have transferred defendant to a court of criminal jurisdiction, the judgment of conviction would be reinstated as of the date of that determination. If no motion for a fitness hearing is filed, or if a fitness hearing is held and the juvenile court determined that it would not have transferred defendant to a court of criminal jurisdiction, defendant‘s criminal conviction, including the true findings on the alleged enhancements, would be deemed to be juvenile adjudications as of the date of the juvenile court‘s determination. In the event the conviction was deemed a juvenile adjudication, the juvenile court was ordered to conduct a dispositional hearing and impose an appropriate disposition within the court‘s discretion. View "California v. Pineda" on Justia Law

by
Trever P. was found by the juvenile court to have committed acts of sexual molestation against his four-year-old cousin while babysitting him one day. Trever was twelve-years-old at the time of the offenses. The court committed Trever to the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Trever argued on appeal that the primary evidence against him, an audio recording, surreptitiously made by the victim’s mother, of the conversation Trever and the victim had during the offenses, was inadmissible under Penal Code section 632.1, a part of the Invasion of Privacy Act. Trever also argued the trial court abused its discretion by committing him to DJJ. The Court of Appeal agreed with the trial court’s conclusion that the evidence was admissible under an exception in section 633.5, allowing for admission of surreptitious recordings if one party consents to being recorded for the purpose of obtaining evidence of certain specified crimes. The victim’s mother reasonably suspected such a crime when she arranged to make the recording. Finding no other error, the Court affirmed the juvenile court’s judgment. View "In re Trever P." on Justia Law

by
San Francisco officers, responding to a broadcast that someone in the area might have a firearm, saw individuals, known to have gang associations, on the corner in a rival gang area. Concerned that they might be trying to attract violence, the officers contacted them. Officer Solares smelled marijuana on D.W.’s clothes and breath. D.W. admitted he had just smoked some. Officer Ochoa told D.W. to put his hands on his head, and D.W. “tried to pull away . . . he didn’t want me to search him.” Ochoa put his hand underneath D.W.’s backpack, and felt a revolver. Officers handcuffed D.W. and retrieved the revolver. D.W. was 17 years old. The court denied D.W.’s motion to suppress, stating: there’s a big distinction [between probable cause] to arrest and [probable cause] to search. . . a strong smell can establish probable cause to believe contraband is present and the search is allowable and legal. The court of appeal affirmed a judgment declaring D.W. a ward of the court but, after remand by the California Supreme Court, reversed. Even if the officers could reasonably conclude that the smell of marijuana and D.W.’s admission that he just smoked some meant he had more, it would have been mere conjecture to conclude that he possessed enough to constitute a jailable offense. View "In re D.W." on Justia Law

by
J.C.’s early years were marked by extreme neglect and abuse. He was removed from his mother at age five and placed in numerous foster homes until he was eventually adopted. J.C. would be adjudged a ward of the court when he was 12 years old, for a series of forcible lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 14. He would ultimately be placed on probation, and committed to the care and custody of his adoptive mother. The conditions of probation included participation in a sex offender treatment program. The following year J.C. admitted a violation of probation, being in the presence of minors under age 14 without the supervision of an adult. The court revoked and reinstated probation on the same terms. In 2012 it was reported that J.C. inappropriately touched his disabled minor sister. J.C.’s mother stated she could no longer adequately supervise J.C. The juvenile court granted a motion to modify custody and J.C. was placed with Martin’s Achievement Place group home. The People filed a new wardship petition, based on the same allegations that J.C. had committed two lewd and lascivious acts on his 12-year-old sister. A psychological evaluation reported that J.C. was not making progress at the sex offender’s program. J.C. admitted one lewd act; the second violation of probation and the petition were dismissed. The court committed J.C. to (level B) placement at Lakeside Academy in Michigan. An inappropriate touching incident was another probation violation, and prompted Lakeside Academy to move J.C. J.C.’s counsel suggested placement at the Victory Outreach Program, a one-year Christian program for recovery from addiction. The juvenile court found Victory Outreach was not a good fit and committed J.C. to DJF, with a maximum confinement of 10 years,3 not to exceed the statutory limitation of commitment to age 23. The court ordered J.C. to register as a sex offender. On appeal, J.C. contends lifetime sex offender registration for juveniles is cruel and unusual punishment under the Eighth Amendment of the United States Constitution. In this case, the Court of Appeal concluded mandatory lifetime sex offender registration pursuant to Penal Code section 290.0081 for those adjudicated wards of the court based on the commission of certain sex offenses was not cruel and unusual punishment. The Court of Appeal came to this conclusion because appellant did not establish on the record that such registration was punishment. View "In re J. C." on Justia Law

by
The Eighth Circuit granted en banc review and held that a state juvenile delinquency adjudication is a "prior conviction" under 18 U.S.C. 2252(b)(1). The en banc court held that, because federal law distinguishes between criminal convictions and juvenile delinquency adjudications, and because section 2252(b)(1) mentions only convictions, juvenile delinquency adjudications do not trigger that statute's 15-year mandatory minimum sentence. Accordingly, the en banc court vacated defendant's sentence and remanded for resentencing. View "United States v. Gauld" on Justia Law

by
A juvenile who has been convicted of murder in the first degree, and whose conviction has been affirmed by the Supreme Judicial Court after plenary review, is thereafter subject to the gatekeeper provision of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 278, 33E. Defendant was convicted in 1995 of murder in the first degree. Defendant was seventeen years old when the killing occurred and was considered an adult for purposes of the criminal proceedings. In 2013, Defendant filed a motion for a new trial. A judge denied the motion but resentenced Defendant to life with the possibility of parole because Defendant was under the age of eighteen at the time of the killing. Thereafter, Defendant filed an application pursuant to the gatekeeper provision of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 278, 33E seeking leave to appeal the denial of his motion for a new trial. At issue before the Supreme Judicial Court was whether Defendant was subject to the gatekeeper provision since he was no longer sentenced to the most severe sentence recognized in Massachusetts. The court answered that the gatekeeper provision applied to defendants who, like Defendant in this case, have had a direct appeal, have received plenary review, and remain convicted of murder in the first degree. View "Commonwealth v. James" on Justia Law

by
A juvenile court dismissed a delinquency petition and sealed the minor's records. A criminal defendant later filed a request for disclosure of the minor's sealed records; defendant was charged with the pimping, pandering, and human trafficking of the minor. The minor was likely to be a witness at defendant's upcoming trial. The juvenile court reviewed the minor's sealed file and ordered that a redacted portion of the file be released to defendant (under procedures appropriate to confidential, rather than sealed files). Defendant argued that his inability to access the minor's sealed file could compromise his discovery rights and his right to effectively cross-examine the minor. The minor filed a petition for writ of mandate to stop that release. After review, the Court of Appeal granted the petition and ordered the juvenile court not to release any information from the minor's sealed file: the Legislature has created no exception for the release of information from a sealed juvenile delinquency file to a third party criminal defendant and courts cannot create such an exception. View "S.V. v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law

by
The Eighth Circuit held that Nebraska's Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA), Neb. Rev. Stat. 29-4003(1)(a)(iv), did not apply to A.W., as a juvenile delinquent that engaged in conduct constituting first-degree criminal sexual conduct in Minnesota. Under both Minnesota and Nebraska law, an adjudication of delinquency was not a criminal proceeding, nor did it result in a conviction; the plain and ordinary meaning of "sex offender" was to be ascertained with respect to Nebraska law; and "sex offender" was ordinarily understood as a person who has been convicted of a crime involving unlawful sexual conduct. View "A.W. v. Wood" on Justia Law

by
The Supreme Court answered a question certified to it by the Second District Court of Appeals, holding that the general division of the court of common pleas must sentence a juvenile under Ohio Rev. Code Chapter 2929 for all offenses for which the juvenile is convicted in a case if, under Ohio Rev. Code 2152.121(B)(4), at least one offense for which the juvenile was convicted was subject to mandatory transfer. Appellee in this case was charged with being a delinquent child for action that would constitute multiple counts of both aggravated robbery and kidnapping if committed by an adult. The case was transferred from the juvenile court to the general division of the court of common pleas under the mandatory transfer provisions of section 2152.12(A)(1)(b)(ii). Appellee then pled guilty to some charges that were subject to mandatory transfer and some charges that were subject to discretionary transfer. The court of appeals ruled that the charges that were subject to discretionary transfer and resulted in convictions were also subject to the “reverse bindover” provisions of section 2152.121(B)(3). The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstated the sentence imposed by the trial court for the reasons set forth above. View "State v. D.B." on Justia Law