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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying Appellant a resentencing hearing and imposing a life sentence with parole eligibility pursuant to the Fair Sentencing of Minors Act (FSMA), holding that Appellant was entitled to a new sentencing hearing based on this Court’s recent decision in Harris v. State, 547 S.W.3d 64. Appellant received a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole for a crime he committed when he was seventeen years old. After the United States Supreme Court decided Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), Appellant filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The circuit court granted the writ, vacated Appellant’s life without parole sentence, and remanded his case to the circuit court for resentencing. Before the resentencing hearing was held, the general assembly passed the FSMA, which eliminated life without parole as a sentencing option for juvenile offenders and extended parole eligibility to juvenile offenders. The circuit court proceeded to sentence Appellant under the new penalty provisions of the FSMA. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because Appellant committed his crime before the effective date of the FSMA, the penalty provisions of the Act did not apply to him. View "Howell v. State" on Justia Law

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Appellant Justin Burrell, who was three months shy of his eighteenth birthday at the time the crimes were committed, was convicted by jury of first-degree murder, manslaughter, first-degree robbery, second-degree burglary, second-degree conspiracy, and four counts of possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (“PFDCF”). He was sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of probation or parole for the first-degree-murder charge plus 50 years’ imprisonment for the remaining charges. In 2012, the United States Supreme Court decided Miller v. Alabama, which declared unconstitutional mandatory life imprisonment without the possibility of parole for juvenile offenders. In response to this ruling, the Delaware General Assembly enacted legislation modifying the juvenile sentencing scheme. At his resentencing, Burrell did not contest the applicability of the new 11 Del. C. Section 4209A’s 25- year minimum mandatory sentence to his first-degree-murder conviction, but argued that the court should not impose any additional statutory minimum mandatory incarceration for his five other convictions (first-degree robbery, second-degree burglary, and the three counts of PFDCF) on the grounds that such additional sentences would run afoul of Miller. The Superior Court disagreed and resentenced Burrell to the minimum mandatory 25 years’ imprisonment for the first-degree-murder charge plus an additional minimum mandatory 12 years’ incarceration for the other offenses. Burrell broadens his challenge to the Delaware Supreme Court, arguing the Superior Court erred when it imposed the 25-year minimum mandatory sentence for the first-degree-murder charge and the additional 12 years for the companion offenses. Further, he claimed the sentencing statutes were unconstitutionally “overbroad.” Finding no abuse of discretion or other reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed Burrell's convictions and sentences. View "Burrell v. Delaware" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal affirmed the juvenile court's order sustaining the allegations of a Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 petition and declaring M.S. a ward of the court. The court held that sufficient evidence existed to support the finding that M.S. committed second degree murder through the personal use of a deadly weapon. In this case, M.S. birthed a baby at home and then used a knife to cut its throat. The court rejected M.S.'s constitutional claims under the Fourth and Fifth Amendment. The court also held that M.S. was not eligible to be considered for referral to a mental health diversion program pursuant to the newly enacted sections 1001.35 and 1001.36. The court held that the new mental health diversion law does not apply to juveniles, and even if it did, M.S.'s crime was excluded. The court held that the juvenile court imposed a rehabilitation program for M.S. that was consistent with the purposes of the juvenile law. The juvenile court considered M.S.'s psychological needs, her risk of self-harm, and her need for continued counseling, ultimately placing her into the highest level of a group home. View "In re M.S." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the circuit court’s order denying Appellant a resentencing hearing and imposing a life sentence with parole eligibility pursuant to the Fair Sentencing of Minors Act (FSMA), holding that Appellant was entitled to a new sentencing hearing based on the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Harris v. State, 547 S.W.3d 64. In 2000, Appellant was convicted of capital murder for a crime that he committed when he was seventeen years old. Appellant received a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without parole. After Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), was decided, Appellant filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus. The circuit court granted the writ, vacated Appellant’s sentence, and remanded Appellant’s case for resentencing. Before Appellant’s resentencing hearing was held, the general assembly passed the FSMA, which eliminated life without parole as a sentencing option for juvenile offenders and extended parole eligibility to juvenile offenders. Thereafter, the circuit court resentenced Appellant to life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after thirty years pursuant to the new penalty provisions of the FSMA. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because Appellant committed the crime before the effective date of the FSMA, the penalty provisions of the FSMA did not apply to him. View "Howell v. State" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the circuit court denying the State’s motion to recall A.L.’s juvenile delinquency proceedings, holding that the court of appeals correctly reversed the circuit court’s decision. Specifically, the Court held (1) a circuit court can resume suspended juvenile delinquency proceedings to reexamine the competency of a juvenile who was initially found not competent to proceed under Wis. Stat. 938.30(5)(d) and not likely to become competent within the statutory time frame; and (2) the circuit court retains competency over juvenile delinquency proceedings even after an accompanying juvenile in need of protection or services order has expired. View "State v. A.L." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed for lack of jurisdiction this appeal brought by the State appealing the order of the separate juvenile court of Douglas County, which vacated its previous order of adjudication and set the matter for further proceedings, holding that the order was not a final order appealable by the State. The juvenile court vacated a previous adjudication order based on acceptance of a “plea of no contest” to allegations made by the State against Maximus B. in an amended petition filed pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-247. The juvenile court set a date for a formal pretrial hearing, determining that “a plea of no contest” is not a permitted answer under Neb. Rev. Stat. 43-279 where the petition alleges that the child is a juvenile violator under section 43-247. The State appealed, claiming that the juvenile court erred in determining that a plea of no contest is not permitted under section 43-279. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that the juvenile court’s order was not a final order appealable by the State. View "In re Interest of Maximus B." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the order of the circuit court denying Appellant a resentencing hearing and imposing a sentence of life with parole eligibility pursuant to the Fair Sentencing of Minors Act (FSMA), 2017 Ark. Acts 2165, holding that the circuit court erred in applying the FSMA to Appellant’s case. Appellant was sixteen years old when he committed the crimes leading to his convictions for capital murder and theft of property. Appellant received a sentence of life imprisonment without parole for capital murder. After Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), was decided, Appellant petitioned for writ of habeas corpus. The circuit court granted the petition, vacated Appellant’s sentence, and remanded for resentencing. Before the circuit court could conduct a Miller hearing, the General Assembly passed the FSMA, which eliminated life without parole as a sentencing option for juvenile offenders. The State then filed a motion for resentencing under the FSMA. The circuit court relied on the FSMA’s provisions in resentencing Appellant to life with the possibility of parole after thirty years. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that because Appellant’s sentence had been vacated before the FSMA was enacted, the circuit court erred in applying the FSMA to Appellant’s case. The court remanded the case for a Miller hearing. View "Ray v. State" on Justia Law

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The Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA; 25 U.S.C. 1901) gives Indian tribes the right to intervene in dependency proceedings regarding Indian children where foster care placement or termination of parental rights is being sought. The party initiating dependency proceedings must provide the tribe with notice. The Santa Clara County Department of Family and Services filed a juvenile dependency petition on behalf of nine-year-old L.D. At the initial hearing, Mother informed the court of Native Alaskan ancestry. At the dispositional hearing, the Department reported that it had sent notice, in November 2017, to the Native Village of Tanana, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and the Secretary of the Interior. Receiving no objections, the court found the notice satisfied ICWA. The court found that Mother had sexually abused L.D., who was removed from Mother’s custody with the expectation she would be placed with her maternal grandfather who had been caring for her informally for years. Following another hearing, the court issued a three-year restraining order protecting L.D. from mother. The court later found Mother in violation of the order. Mother filed an appeal from that order but her briefing did not address the restraining order, instead challenging the finding regarding ICWA compliance. The court of appeal dismissed the appeal as untimely but noted that the Department conceded that its notice was inadequate and that notification efforts are continuing. View "In re L.D." on Justia Law

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In this challenge brought by J.G., a juvenile, to a restitution order the Supreme Court remanded the matter for a new hearing regarding J.G.’s ability to pay restitution, holding that the juvenile court did not violate federal law by considering J.G’s receipt of Supplemental Security Income Program (SSI) benefits for purposes of assessing J.G.’s ability to pay restitution but that a new ability to pay hearing was required that includes consideration of J.G.’s future earning capacity, his current financial circumstances, and the total amount of restitution to be ordered. J.G. was charged by petition with trespassing and vandalism. The juvenile court granted deferred entry of judgment on condition that J.G. pay restitution in the total amount of $36,381 at the rate of $25 per month. The court later dismissed the petition and ordered that the restitution award may be enforced as a civil judgment. J.G. challenged the restitution order on appeal. The court of appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court remanded the matter, holding that, based on the People’s concession that the ability to pay determination would be “improper” if the juvenile court “was contemplating the social security money as the source of the restitution payments,” remand was necessary for a new ability to pay hearing. View "In re J.G." on Justia Law

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In San Francisco County, a male took a woman’s cellphone from her hand and passed it to Minor. Police apprehended Minor and found the phone in his pocket. Minor admitted to misdemeanor receiving stolen property. Weeks later, in Alameda County, Minor and another robbed two “kids,” using a pellet “replica” gun. Minor was apprehended and confessed. A search of Minor’s cellphone revealed an email receipt for a “Semi-Auto BB Air Pistol.” Minor admitted to attempted second-degree robbery. Both cases were transferred to Contra Costa County (Minor’s residence).. In Contra Costa County, two males took a victim’s cellphone at gunpoint. After Minor was arrested for the Alameda County robbery, he confessed to the Contra Costa robbery—he had the cellphone in his possession. A juvenile wardship petition alleged Minor committed second-degree robbery and personally used a dangerous or deadly weapon. The juvenile court denied Minor’s motion to suppress his statements and sustained the allegations. The court of appeal affirmed the order that adjudged Minor a ward, removed him from parental custody, and committed him to a county institution, rejecting a claim that Minor did not understand his Miranda warnings. Committing Minor to juvenile hall until age 21, while providing for an earlier release if Minor successfully completed a court-designated treatment program, did not impermissibly delegate judicial authority to the probation department to determine the length of the commitment. View "In re L.R." on Justia Law