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Minor J.S. appealed a dispositional order adjudging him a ward of the court pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 and placing him on formal probation, subject to various terms and conditions. At the time of the incident that led to the charges against J.S., in October 2017, the victim, John Doe, was nine years old and lived with his grandmother in Contra Costa County, California. That month, a family friend and her son and two nephews, 12-year-old J.S. and his brother R.R., were temporarily staying at Doe's home. The family friend's nephews stayed in Doe's room with him. Doe woke up and turned on the light in his room. At that time, R.R. was still sleeping and J.S. was in the bathroom getting ready for school. When J.S. returned to the bedroom, he told Doe to suck his "private part," and said that if Doe did not do it, J.S. would hurt Doe. J.S. exposed his penis and "showed" Doe what he wanted Doe to do. Doe was afraid that J.S. would hurt him, so he got on the ground and began to orally copulate J.S. Doe's grandmother discovered the pair; police were ultimately called. J.S. denied the sequence of events. On appeal, J.S. argued that certain probation conditions that permitted searches of his electronic devices and imposed limitations on his use of computers, the Internet, and social networking Web sites were unconstitutionally overbroad and should be stricken in their entirety. In the alternative, J.S. contended that the conditions at issue should have been stricken and the case remanded to allow the trial court to determine whether the conditions can be narrowly tailored to serve the state's interest in rehabilitation. Finding no abuse of discretion or other reversible error, the Court of Appeal affirmed. View "In re J.S." on Justia Law

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Christopher Shanahan appealed a district court decision denying his motion to correct an allegedly illegal sentence imposed in 1997. In the Fall of 1995, Shanahan and two friends devised a scheme to rob a convenience store in Grant, Idaho, and use the money to travel to Las Vegas, Nevada. Once there, they planned to join a gang and lead a life of crime. Shanahan argued his indeterminate life sentence, with the first thirty-five years fixed, for the murder he committed as a juvenile in 1995 was equivalent to a life sentence without the possibility of parole. Therefore, he argued that under Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012) and persuasive precedent from other states, he was entitled to a new sentencing where his youth and its attendant characteristics could be properly considered. Otherwise, he argued, his sentence violated the Eighth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution. The district court denied the motion on the basis that Miller was inapplicable to Shanahan’s sentence and, even if it applied, the sentencing court heard testimony regarding his age and mental health prior to sentencing him. Finding no reversible error, the Idaho Supreme Court affirmed Shanahan's conviction. View "Idaho v. Shanahan" on Justia Law

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In May 2014, Contra Costa County Children & Family Services filed dependency petitions, seeking the detention of children born in 2008 and 2011. The maternal grandparents took the children. Mother was out of contact for a month. The whereabouts of both fathers, D.B. and M.C., were also unknown. Mother and M.C. were eventually located in San Mateo County and did not contest the petition. The matter was transferred to San Mateo County. The dispositional report detailed domestic violence, mental illness, drug use, and another pregnancy. In February 2015, the juvenile court removed the children from parental custody and declared them juvenile court dependents. Reunification services were ordered and the children were eventually returned to mother. The following years involved transfers between the counties, several incidents of violence, psychiatric hospitalization, the birth of a fourth child, drinking, and neglect. The children suffered many problems. The court terminated services, finding that the family had received more than 55 months of services since the initial detention, and set the matter for a section 366.26 hearing so that permanent out-of-home placements could be developed. The court of appeal upheld the orders, rejecting arguments that there were reasonable means short of removal to protect the minors and that the minors’ possible Indian heritage was not properly investigated or notice provided to relevant tribes as required under the Indian Child Welfare Act, 25 U.S.C. 1901. View "M.L. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal reversed the juvenile court's decision sustaining a Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 petition and finding that A.C. violated his conditions of probation by making criminal threats. The court held that statements A.C. made to a counselor are admissible because they do not fall within the psychotherapist-patient privilege. The court also held that there was insufficient evidence to support the findings that A.C. violated his probation conditions. View "People v. A.C." on Justia Law

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Defendants Keith Daron Syling, Roger Schoolcraft, David Kunihiro and Audra Smith were officers or employees of the Alamogordo Police Department (APD) who were allegedly responsible for the public release of information regarding the arrest of a juvenile, A.N, in violation of New Mexico law. Plaintiffs A.N. and her mother, Katherine Ponder brought this action against Defendants and others, asserting claims under federal and state law. Defendants appealed the district court’s denial of their motion to dismiss Plaintiffs’ equal protection claim under 42 U.S.C. 1983 based on qualified immunity. The Tenth Circuit concluded Defendants were on notice they would violate A.N.’s right to equal protection under the law if they intentionally and without a rational basis differentiated between her and similarly situated juvenile arrestees in applying New Mexico’s laws against the disclosure of juvenile arrest and delinquency records. As a result, “any reasonable official in [Defendants’] shoes would have understood that he was violating” Plaintiffs’ equal protection rights by these actions. Therefore, the Court affirmed the district court's judgment denying them qualified immunity on Plaintiffs' equal protection claim. View "A.N. v. Alamogordo Police Department" on Justia Law

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The State of New Jersey charged fourteen-year-old D.M. with delinquency based on conduct which, if committed by an adult, would constitute first-degree aggravated sexual assault. The State alleged D.M. committed acts of sexual penetration against an eleven-year-old acquaintance, Z.Y. With the parties’ consent, the Family Part judge considered the lesser-related charge of third-degree endangering the welfare of a child. In this appeal, the issue presented for the New Jersey Supreme Court's review centered on whether a juvenile could be adjudicated delinquent for endangering the welfare of a child when the juvenile and his alleged victim were fewer than four years apart in age and the Family Part judge made no findings of sexual penetration, force, or coercion. An Appellate Division panel reversed the juvenile adjudication, reasoning that the Legislature did not intend for the endangering statute, N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a)(1), to support a delinquency adjudication based on a juvenile’s sexual contact with another minor fewer than four years younger than he, in the absence of a finding of sexual penetration, force, or coercion. The New Jersey Supreme Court did not concur with the Appellate Division panel’s construction of the endangering statute. Although the Legislature may decide that statute: "nothing in the current text of N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a)(1) precludes the adjudication in this case. We decline to rewrite the statute’s plain language in this appeal." The Court concluded, however, that the Family Part court’s adjudication had to be reversed: "When the court, at the disposition hearing, disavowed critical aspects of its previously-stated factual findings and characterized its decision to adjudicate D.M. under the lesser-related offense as a humanitarian gesture, it undermined its determination as to both offenses. In this extraordinary setting, it is unclear whether the State met its burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that D.M. violated N.J.S.A. 2C:24-4(a)(1)." View "New Jersey in the Interest of D.M." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court ruling in favor of the Iowa Parole Board (Board) as to Petitioner's action challenging the manner in which the Board considers whether persons convicted of offenses while a juvenile should be granted parole, holding that the district court did not err. Petitioner was sixteen years old when he committed the crime of kidnapping. In his petition for judicial review brought pursuant to the Iowa Code 17A.19, Petitioner sought a declaratory judgment that a variety of substantive and procedural rights are required when a juvenile offender is considered for parole. The district court denied the Board's motion to dismiss and then proceeded to rule in favor of the Board on the merits. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) dismissal was not appropriate without analyzing the merits of the underlying constitutional claims; (2) the statute and rules governing the parole process can be applied in a constitutional manner through the required Graham-Miller lens; (3) a juvenile offender has a liberty interest in the proper application of Graham-Miller principles under the Due Process Clause; and (4) Petitioner failed to establish any constitutional violations. View "Bonilla v. Iowa Board of Parole" on Justia Law

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J.M., a minor, was adjudged a ward of the court and placed on probation with various terms and conditions after he made a false report that a bomb or other explosive device would be placed in his school. In the published portion of the opinion, the Court of Appeal held that J.M.'s words were not protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and Penal Code section 148.1, subdivision (c) is not unconstitutionally overbroad. The court held that subdivision (c) of section 148.1 criminalizes the malicious communication of knowingly false information about placement of a bomb or other explosive, and such utterances are not constitutionally protected speech. View "People v. J.M." on Justia Law

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This case presented a narrow question of whether Senate Bill No. 1391 (Stats. 2018, ch. 1012, section 1) (S.B. 1391) was void as an unconstitutional amendment to Welfare and Institutions Code section 707 as modified by the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 (Proposition 57). The State filed two petitions for a writ of mandate seeking relief from separate orders by respondent Superior Court of Sacramento County, which refused to transfer real parties in interest R.Z. and K.L. from juvenile to criminal court for purposes of criminal prosecution based on section 707 as modified by legislative enactment of S.B. 1391. The State charged K.L., 15 at the time of the alleged conduct, with felony murder, attempted murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle, with additional allegations K.L. personally discharged a firearm causing death or great bodily injury, all in association with involvement with a street gang. R.Z. was also 15 at the time of the alleged conduct, arraigned on a juvenile petition because he committed murder and personally discharged a firearm causing great bodily injury or death in the commission of the homicide. The trial court found R.Z. unfit for juvenile court and granted the State's motion transferring R.Z. to criminal court. However, the trial court stayed execution of that order until January 2019 so that it could determine the effect of S.B. 1391 on its order transferring the minor. Over the State's opposition, on January 10, 2019, the trial court dismissed the motion to transfer R.Z. to criminal court, vacated its prior order transferring the minor, and sent the matter to juvenile court. The State argued S.B. 1391’s bar on the transfer of minors under the age of 16 for criminal prosecution as adults was unconstitutional because it did not further the intent and purpose of Proposition 57. The Court of Appeal disagreed and denied the State's petitions for mandamus relief. View "California v. Superior Court (K.L.)" on Justia Law

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Barry Garcia appealed a district court's denial of his request for a new trial and determining N.D.C.C. 12.1-32-13.1 did not apply to his criminal sentence. In 1996, Garcia was found guilty of the offense of murder, committed while he was a juvenile, and he was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole. In 2016, Garcia filed a petition for post-conviction relief arguing that imposing a sentence of life without parole on a juvenile violated the constitutional standards set forth by the United States Supreme Court in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012) and Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S.Ct. 718 (2016). While Garcia’s appeal was pending, the North Dakota legislature passed HB 1195, which was enacted on April 17, 2017 as N.D.C.C. 12.1-32-13.1 and effective August 1, 2017. The North Dakota Supreme Court declined to rule on Garcia’s request to apply N.D.C.C. 12.1-32-13.1 because it had not been raised at the district court, and ruled without remanding the issue. Following the appeal of the 2016 denial of post-conviction relief, Garcia filed a motion for a new trial in the district court. The court found that a motion for a new trial was not the correct vehicle for requesting relief under N.D.C.C. 12.1-32-13.1, but pursuant to the consent of both parties, agreed to consider whether N.D.C.C. 12.1-32-13.1 applied to Garcia. After a hearing, the court issued an order denying the motion for a new trial and finding N.D.C.C. 12.1-32-13.1 did not apply. The Supreme Court determined Garcia’s conviction was final before the statute’s effective date; granting his requested relief would require retroactive application of the statute and would constitute an infringement on the executive pardoning power. Furthermore, Garcia failed to provide newly discovered evidence to support his motion for a new trial. Therefore, the Supreme Court affirmed the district court's order. View "Garcia v. North Dakota" on Justia Law