Justia Juvenile Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in California Courts of Appeal
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Based on allegations that the minor exposed himself to (Penal Code 314.1) and solicited sex from his 14-year-old female classmate and touched another classmate in a sexual manner (Penal Code 242), the juvenile court placed the minor on probation with multiple conditions. The court of appeal struck an electronics search condition. Nothing in the record establishes that the electronics search condition is valid as “reasonably related to future criminality,” and a treatment provider’s finding of “therapeutic necessity” at some later date is not equivalent to a finding that the burden imposed is proportional to the legitimate interests served by the condition. The court modified conditions relating to fees, the possession of materials or items that have a primary purpose of causing sexual arousal, and the minor’s proximity to the campus or grounds of any school unless enrolled, accompanied, or authorized. The court upheld conditions relating to psychological evaluations and polygraph testing, View "In re David C." on Justia Law

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Respondent J.H. was ordered to pay restitution as part of a 2005 juvenile delinquency adjudication. J.H.’s wardship terminated on June 6, 2014, after which writs of execution were issued for the unpaid balance. J.H. subsequently moved to quash. The superior court granted the motion, finding the restitution order was no longer valid because the 10-year enforcement period for money judgments had expired without renewal of the restitution order as required by section 683.020 of the Code of Civil Procedure. The State appealed, contending restitution orders imposed in delinquency proceedings were not subject to the 10-year enforcement period of Code of Civil Procedure section 683.020. The Court of Appeal concluded that, while restitution orders in delinquency cases were enforceable as money judgments and could be converted to money judgments, they were not money judgments for the purpose of the 10-year enforcement limit. Accordingly, the Court reversed. View "In re J.H." on Justia Law

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Defendant, who was 18 years old at the time of the attempted murders and 21 years old when he committed murder, seeks remand of his cause for a hearing under People v. Franklin (2016) 63 Cal.4th 261, because his counsel stipulated, without his consent, to limit information regarding youth-related mitigating factors to a written submission following the sentencing hearing. The Court of Appeal held that counsel's stipulation to file the Franklin package after the sentencing hearing and without presentation of live testimony did not violate defendant's constitutional rights. The court also held that defendant's ineffective assistance of counsel claim should be presented in a petition for writ of habeas corpus. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment, ordering a correction on the abstract of judgment to reflect the sentence. View "People v. Sepulveda" on Justia Law

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Wilkes was convicted for the attempted murder of Christopher and related crimes. The court of appeal affirmed the conviction but modified the judgment to strike an enhancement for a prior one-year prison term for a grand theft conviction and award presentence conduct credits. The court upheld other enhancements and rejected Wilkes’s challenge to the sufficiency of the evidence that he intended to kill Christopher and that the attempted murder was premeditated and deliberate. There was evidence that Wilkes purposefully fired a gun into the front passenger window of a car, knowing Christopher was in the driver’s seat, and that he fired a subsequent shot at Christopher after Christopher exited the car. The court also rejected Wilkes’s equal protection challenge to a statutory provision rendering youth offenders sentenced pursuant to the Three Strikes Law (Pen. Code 667(b)–(j), 1170.12), such as Wilkes, ineligible for youth offender parole hearings. (section 3051(h).) View "People v. Wilkes" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal affirmed the district court's restitution order against defendant, then age 16, who admitted to making criminal threats in violation of Penal Code 422. The court held that the juvenile court erred by applying the presumption of causality contained in Penal Code section 1202.4, subdivision (f)(4)(A) to victim restitution ordered under section 730.6. However, the court rejected defendant's claim that his conduct was not shown to be a substantial factor in an injury to the so-called derivative victims. The court also held that the juvenile court properly imposed interest on the amount of restitution. View "In re S.E." on Justia Law

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When E.D. was 17 years old, a high school teacher began engaging in sex with her in his classroom. The situation was discovered after several months. The teacher admitted engaging in sexual intercourse with E.D. 10-20 times while she was a minor. The principal had previously disciplined the teacher for inappropriate contact with a student but the conduct had not been reported to authorities; no steps were taken to monitor the teacher’s contact with other female students. E.D. brought claims against the teacher for sexual abuse, against the school defendants for negligence and breach of statutory duties in failing to adequately supervise teachers and protect students, and against all the defendants for intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress; her foster mother joined in the claims of intentional and negligent infliction of emotional distress. They alleged that they were not required to present a claim to the School District under the Government Claims Act (Gov. Code 810) due to the exemption for claims of sexual abuse of a minor, section 905(m). The District had enacted its own claim presentation requirement, purportedly overriding section 905(m) The court of appeal reversed the dismissal of E.D.’s causes of action. The Legislature has consistently expanded the ability of childhood sexual abuse victims to seek compensation but it is not clear that it intended to provide relatives the same rights as direct victims. View "Coats v. New Haven Unified School District" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal affirmed defendant's conviction for murdering two juveniles and held that the trial court's error in admitting into evidence defendant's rap song video glorifying gang violence was harmless. However, the court vacated defendant's life sentence because it was unable to conclude that the trial court's sentence complied with the Eighth Amendment prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments. The court held that Penal Code section 3051, subdivision (b)(4), does not moot defendant's abuse of discretion claim. The trial court then examined and illuminated the transient immaturity versus irreparable corruption legal standard applicable to juvenile life without parole sentencing. The court concluded that, to faithfully apply this deeply rooted in the Eighth Amendment sentencing standard, a trial court must affirmatively and expressly find the circumstances that justify imposing a life without parole sentence upon a juvenile offender. Accordingly, the court remanded for resentencing. View "People v. Botello" on Justia Law

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The State appealed a trial court's orders granting respondent Brandon Brown’s (defendant) petition for writ of habeas corpus, vacating his sentence, and resentencing him to 16 years eight months in prison, which was eight years shorter than his original sentence. The trial court granted his writ petition because his strike for carjacking as a juvenile did not qualify as a strike under Welfare and Institutions Code section 707(b) and Penal Code section 667(d)(3). The trial court also concluded that defendant’s trial counsel provided ineffective assistance of counsel (IAC) by not objecting to the strike during sentencing. The State contended on appeal that the trial court erred in granting defendant’s writ petition because: (1) defendant’s juvenile carjacking adjudication qualified as a strike under the 2006 law; (2) the trial court erred in applying California v. Gallardo, 4 Cal.5th 120 (2017), retroactively; (3) the trial court exceeded its jurisdiction by vacating the carjacking strike entered in Los Angeles (case No. VA 076709) and Orange County (case No. 03NF1824) cases; (4) defendant’s trial counsel was not ineffective, because the record of conviction established defendant’s carjacking adjudication qualified as a strike; and (5) defendant’s delay in filing his writ petition prejudiced the People’s ability to oppose it. The Court of Appeal determined the trial court did not err in applying Gallardo retroactively and granting defendant’s writ petition on the ground defendant’s juvenile carjacking adjudication did not qualify as a strike. Therefore, the Court concluded it did not need to address the State's additional IAC challenge. Furthermore, the Court rejected the State’s other objections and affirmed the writ petition order and judgment. View "In re Brown" on Justia Law

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A juvenile court found that Amber had committed felony assault by force likely to produce great bodily harm, adjudged her a ward of the court, and imposed conditions of probation. The conditions included a requirement that she submit her electronic devices to warrantless searches of any medium of communication likely to reveal whether she is complying with the conditions of her probation. The court of appeal held that the condition is appropriate but too broad to withstand scrutiny. It imposes a burden that is not proportionate to the legitimate interest it serves of ensuring that Amber does not have contact with a specific person. View "In re Amber K." on Justia Law

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In December 2018, E.F. (minor) and L.S. were ninth graders enrolled in the same art class in high school. For unknown reasons, minor offered L.S. a Cup of Noodles, microwaved it, and handed it to him. When L.S. went to drink the broth, it smelled of bleach and he threw it out. The juvenile court entered a temporary restraining order (TRO) and, subsequently, a three-year restraining order against E.F., charged with poisoning one of her high school classmates. Among other things, this appeal presents the following question: Is a prosecutor seeking a TRO under Welfare and Institutions Code section 213.5 required to give advance notice of her intent to do so (or is notice at the hearing where the TRO is requested sufficient)? The court in In re L.W., 44 Cal.App.5th 44 (2020) held that advance notice is required. The Court of Appeal disagreed, holding that express language in section 213.5 authorized courts to authorize TROs without notice in advance of the hearing. “The minor appearing at the arraignment with counsel is still notified of the prosecutor’s TRO application and has the opportunity to oppose the application. Because due process guarantees notice and the opportunity to be heard, the issuance of TROs under section 213.5 accords with due process and thus provides no basis to read section 213.5 in a counter- textual manner to avoid possible constitutional infirmity.” View "In re E.F." on Justia Law