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B.F. and C.W. lived in Calaveras County with a blended family that included six children, ranging from one to 15 years of age. Most of the family attended a Little League baseball game on April 27, 2013, leaving the house at approximately 7:00 a.m. Appellant I.F. then age 12, and his sister L.F., age 8, were home alone on that morning; during the course of the morning, someone entered L.F.’s bedroom and stabbed her to death. Later that day, and in the days that followed, I.F. made a series of inconsistent and cumulatively incriminating statements to police. A petition was filed under Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 alleging that I.F. committed murder and personally used a knife in the commission of the offense. Following a contested jurisdictional hearing, the juvenile court sustained the petition and found true the allegation that I.F. personally used a knife in the commission of the crime. I.F. appealed, arguing the juvenile court erroneously admitted his pre-arrest statements in violation of Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966). After review, the Court of Appeal agreed that two of four challenged statements were inadmissible. Because the Miranda error was not harmless beyond a reasonable doubt under Chapman v. California, 386 U.S. 18 (1967), the Court reversed and remanded for further proceedings. View "In re I.F." on Justia Law

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Defendant Daniel Marsh, one month shy of his 16th birthday, stalked a Davis neighborhood at night and randomly selected the home of two victims to satisfy a long-standing (and oft-expressed) desire to kill, after which he mutilated their bodies. He was found guilty by jury of two counts of first degree murder (finding that he personally used a deadly weapon in each instance) and sustained allegations of three special circumstances. Defendant was found sane at the time of the offenses. After making an individualized assessment of the appropriateness of the sentence, the trial court imposed an indeterminate life sentence with a minimum term of 52 years. The case was not fully briefed until July 2017. On appeal, defendant argued Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012) and Roper v. Simmons, 543 U.S. 551 (2005), which respectively prohibited the mandatory punishment of life without parole for minors for any offense, or the death penalty under any circumstances, even for minors who commit homicide. Both cases applied in the context of a sanity determination, requiring the resurrection of the doctrine abrogated under California law in which an “irresistible impulse” test was applied to determine a defendant’s sanity. Defendant argued on appeal to the Court of Appeal that the sanity phase had to be reversed and retried with instructions on this rejected standard. In the published portion of its opinion, the Court of Appeal noted that in supplemental briefing, defendant had “deeply disturbed mental functioning,” that did not of itself align with the criteria absolving a defendant on the ground of insanity. The judgment of the criminal court was conditionally reversed and the matter remanded to the juvenile court with direction to hold a juvenile transfer hearing to determine defendant’s suitability for treatment in juvenile or criminal court within 90 days of the issuance of the Court of Appeals’ remittitur. If the juvenile court determined that defendant was the proper subject of criminal proceedings, it shall reinstate the criminal judgment. If the juvenile court finds that it would not have transferred defendant to a court of criminal jurisdiction, then it shall deem defendant’s convictions to be juvenile adjudications and conduct a dispositional hearing within its usual time frame. View "California v. Marsh" on Justia Law

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The school’s principal recommended that M.N., a seventh grader, be expelled, based upon allegations that M.N. had committed sexual assault or sexual battery upon a 13-year-old female student on multiple occasions while the two rode a school bus. The district's administrative panel conducted a hearing and recommended expulsion, finding that M.N. had committed or attempted to commit sexual assault or committed sexual battery, and also committed sexual harassment. Unsuccessful with the District’s Governing Board and the Santa Clara County Board of Education, M.N. filed sought mandamus relief. The superior court concluded there was substantial evidence to support the finding that M.N. had committed sexual battery so that the District was required by statute to expel him for one year. The court remanded for consideration of whether the evidence justified the exercise of statutory discretion to suspend expulsion. M.N. argued that the sexual battery finding was unsupported by any competent evidence of the element of specific intent, i.e., that M.N.’s unwanted touching was “for the specific purpose of sexual arousal, sexual gratification, or sexual abuse” (Pen. Code, 243.4(e)(1)) and that evidence of such specific intent was entirely hearsay. The court of appeal affirmed, concluding that there was substantial evidence—including competent, admissible, nonhearsay evidence—to support the finding of sexual battery. View "M.N. v. Morgan Hill Unified School District" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Family Court finding Respondent, a juvenile, delinquent for committing first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery. The only pertinent issue Respondent raised on appeal was whether the State met its burden of establishing the corpus delicti of the crimes of robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery such that the trial justice properly admitted Respondent’s confession into evidence. The Supreme Court concluded that the State did establish the corpus delicti of both first-degree robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery, and therefore, the trial justice did not err in admitting Respondent’s confession. View "In re Joseph C." on Justia Law

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People v. Sanchez's, (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665, limitations do not render social service reports inadmissible in status review hearings held pursuant to the Welfare and Institutions Code. In this case, petitioner sought extraordinary writ review of the juvenile court's order terminating reunification services and setting the matter for a permanency plan hearing. Petitioner contended that the superior court erred when it considered a social services report in the absence of its primary author, and thus prevented his cross-examination of her at the 12-month status review hearing. The court denied the petition, holding that the juvenile court's consideration of the report did not violate petitioner's due process rights. View "J.H. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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People v. Sanchez's, (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665, limitations do not render social service reports inadmissible in status review hearings held pursuant to the Welfare and Institutions Code. In this case, petitioner sought extraordinary writ review of the juvenile court's order terminating reunification services and setting the matter for a permanency plan hearing. Petitioner contended that the superior court erred when it considered a social services report in the absence of its primary author, and thus prevented his cross-examination of her at the 12-month status review hearing. The court denied the petition, holding that the juvenile court's consideration of the report did not violate petitioner's due process rights. View "J.H. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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The State Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders (Board) may consider a defendant’s Youthful Offender (YO) adjudication for the limited public safety purpose of accurately assessing the offender’s risk to reoffend. Defendant committed first-degree rape and, thereby, became subject to New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act’s (SORA) sex offender registration requirements. The Board gave defendant a score of 115 points, including twenty-five points for his “criminal history” factors, based solely on his YO adjudication for third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, committed when he was seventeen years old. Defendant objected, arguing that because a YO adjudication is not a conviction, it may not be considered as part of a defendant’s criminal history for the purposes of SORA. The SORA court overruled the objection and designated Defendant a Level III sexually violent sex offender. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the Board’s interpretation of its authority under SORA does not conflict with the Criminal Procedure Law’s youthful offender provisions. View "People v. Francis" on Justia Law

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The State Board of Examiners of Sex Offenders (Board) may consider a defendant’s Youthful Offender (YO) adjudication for the limited public safety purpose of accurately assessing the offender’s risk to reoffend. Defendant committed first-degree rape and, thereby, became subject to New York’s Sex Offender Registration Act’s (SORA) sex offender registration requirements. The Board gave defendant a score of 115 points, including twenty-five points for his “criminal history” factors, based solely on his YO adjudication for third-degree criminal possession of stolen property, committed when he was seventeen years old. Defendant objected, arguing that because a YO adjudication is not a conviction, it may not be considered as part of a defendant’s criminal history for the purposes of SORA. The SORA court overruled the objection and designated Defendant a Level III sexually violent sex offender. The Appellate Division affirmed. The Court of Appeals affirmed, holding that the Board’s interpretation of its authority under SORA does not conflict with the Criminal Procedure Law’s youthful offender provisions. View "People v. Francis" on Justia Law

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At issue was whether the holding in Commonwealth v. Newton N., also decided today, that where a prosecutor wishes to proceed to arraignment on a delinquency complaint supported by probable cause, a juvenile may not dismiss the complaint before arraignment on the grounds that dismissal is in the best interests of the child and in the interests of justice, also limits judicial authority to dismiss a delinquency complaint brought by a private party under Mass. Gen. Laws. ch. 218, 35A, where a clerk-magistrate issued the complaint after finding probable cause. The Supreme Judicial Court held (1) the limitation set forth in Newton N. applies only where the prosecutor has affirmatively adopted the private party’s complaint by moving for arraignment, rather than simply appearing at the scheduled arraignment; and (2) where the prosecutor has not moved for arraignment, a judge considering a juvenile’s motion to dismiss before arraignment may consider whether the clerk-magistrate appropriately exercised sound discretion in issuing the complaint and, in so doing, may consider whether dismissal is in the best interest of the child and in the interests of justice. View "Commonwealth v. Orbin O." on Justia Law

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At issue in this appeal from the Juvenile Court’s grant of a prearrangement motion to dismiss a delinquency complaint, the Supreme Judicial Court held (1) a judge, in weighing whether the information contained within the four corners of the complaint application and attached exhibits establishes probable cause, may not consider whether a juvenile was criminally responsible for the charged offenses or whether the juvenile’s mental impairment rendered the juvenile incapable of having the requisite criminal intent; and (2) where a prosecutor proceeds to arraignment on a delinquency complaint supported by probable cause, the judge may not dismiss the complaint prior to arraignment on the grounds that dismissal of the complaint is in the best interests of the child and in the interests of justice. The Supreme Judicial Court held that, in this case, the dismissal of the delinquency complaint before arraignment was improper because the complaint was supported by probable cause and the prosecutor wished to proceed to arraignment. The court vacated the order of dismissal and remanded the matter to the Juvenile Court. View "Commonwealth v. Newton N." on Justia Law