Justia Juvenile Law Opinion Summaries

Articles Posted in US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the denial of petitioner's federal habeas petition and his Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b) motion to set aside the judgment and amend his habeas petition to add a new claim. Petitioner was convicted of first degree murder, attempted murder, and street terrorism.In regard to the habeas petition, the panel applied the deferential standard in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act (AEDPA) and held that the state court's conclusion that petitioner's statements were voluntary was not contrary to or an unreasonable application of federal law. Under the totality of the circumstances, petitioner was advised of his Miranda rights; the state court did not unreasonably conclude that petitioner was sixteen years old and considered his age, experience, and maturity as part of the totality of the circumstances of his confession; and the state court did not unreasonably conclude that the circumstances of the interview were not coercive. Furthermore, the video recording of the interview refutes petitioner's argument that those tactics overbore his will and rendered his confession involuntary. In regard to the Rule 60(b) motion, the panel held that the district court properly denied that motion as an unauthorized second or successive petition under 28 U.S.C. 2244(b)(3)(A). View "Balbuena v. Sullivan" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants in a 42 U.S.C. 1983 action brought by plaintiff, alleging that a Juvenile Corrections Officer violated her constitutional rights. Plaintiff alleged that the officer made sexual comments to her, groomed her for sexual abuse, and looked at her inappropriately while she was showering.The panel held that, viewing the facts in the light most favorable to plaintiff and drawing all reasonable inferences in her favor, plaintiff has presented sufficient facts to establish a violation of her right to bodily privacy, right to bodily integrity, and right to be free from punishment as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment. The panel also held that the district court erred when it concluded that there was no evidence supporting a causal link between the supervisor's conduct and the officer's alleged violation of plaintiff's constitutional rights. Therefore, the panel remanded for further proceedings. View "Vazquez v. County of Kern" on Justia Law

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An IJ is required to inform a petitioner subject to removal proceedings of "apparent eligibility to apply for any of the benefits enumerated in this chapter." 8 C.F.R. 1240.11(a)(2). The apparent eligibility standard of 8 C.F.R. 1240.11(a)(2) is triggered whenever the facts before the IJ raise a reasonable possibility that the petitioner may be eligible for relief. When the IJ fails to provide the required advice, the appropriate course is to grant the petition for review, reverse the BIA's dismissal of the petitioner's appeal of the IJ's failure to inform him of this relief, and remand for a new hearing.A successful Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) application plainly can lead to relief from removal, and SIJ regulations are among those in the referenced subchapter, 8 C.F.R. 1245.1(a), (e)(2)(vi)(B)(3). The en banc court granted a petition for review of the BIA's dismissal of petitioner's appeal of the IJ's denial of his application for asylum and withholding of removal. The panel held that the IJ who ordered petitioner removed erred by failing to advise him about his apparent eligibility for SIJ status. View "C.J.L.G. v. Barr" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of a petition for habeas relief challenging a sentencing enhancement for a prior nonjury juvenile conviction and for a gang-related crime. Petitioner argued that the evidence supporting the gang enhancement was constitutionally insufficient under Jackson v. Virginia, 443 U.S. 307 (1979), and that the enhancement for his nonjury juvenile conviction violated Apprendi v. New Jersey, 530 U.S. 466 (2000).The panel held that it was objectively unreasonable to conclude that the evidence was sufficient for a reasonable jury to find the robbery was committed "in association with" a gang; but it was not objectively unreasonable to conclude that the evidence was sufficient for a reasonable jury to find the robbery was committed "for the benefit of" a gang. The panel also held that the juvenile conviction claim was procedurally barred, and the sentencing enhancements based on nonjury juvenile convictions did not violate any clearly established federal law as determined by the United States Supreme Court. View "Johnson v. Montgomery" on Justia Law

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In this appeal, the parties disputed the maximum term of official detention that can be imposed upon revocation of juvenile delinquent supervision when the juvenile is more than 21 years old at the time of the revocation proceeding. Defendant argued that the duration of previously ordered terms of official detention is always subtracted from the maximum term prescribed by 18 U.S.C. 5037(c)(2).The Ninth Circuit vacated the district court's imposition of the 34 month term of official detention following revocation of defendant's juvenile delinquent supervision. The panel held that the text and structure of section 5037(d)(5), its legislative history, and the Federal Juvenile Delinquency Act's motivating purpose supported defendant's construction of section 5037(d)(5). In this case, defendant was entitled to credit for "any term of official detention previously ordered," and thus the maximum term of official detention that could have been imposed upon revocation of his juvenile delinquent supervision was 14 months. View "United States v. Juvenile Male" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit affirmed a juvenile defendant's life sentence without parole where the juvenile was convicted of felony murder and other crimes. The panel held that the district court did not err in resentencing defendant by first calculating and using the sentencing guideline range of life imprisonment; under Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012), and Montgomery v. Louisiana, 136 S. Ct. 718 (2016), the district court was required to consider the hallmark features of youth before imposing a sentence of life without parole on a juvenile offender; and the district court took into account evidence of defendant's rehabilitation as part of its inquiry into whether defendant was a member of a class of permanently incorrigible juvenile offenders. View "United States v. Briones, Jr." on Justia Law

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Neither the Due Process Clause nor the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), 8 U.S.C. 1101 et seq., creates a categorical right to court-appointed counsel at government expense for alien minors. The Ninth Circuit held that, to the extent the IJ failed to provide all the trappings of a full and fair hearing in this case, any shortcomings did not prejudice the outcome because the IJ adequately developed the record on issues that were dispositive to petitioner's claims for relief. The panel also held that the IJ was not required to advise petitioner of a separate state court process that could ultimately form the predicate for petitioner's application for Special Immigrant Juvenile (SIJ) status with the IJ. Finally, the panel declined to reversed the Board's denial of petitioner's asylum, withholding of removal, and CAT claims, because substantial evidence supported the BIA's determination that petitioner was ineligible for relief. View "C.J.L.G. v. Sessions" on Justia Law

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The Ninth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of a habeas corpus petition where petitioner challenged his conviction for second degree murder and attempted murder. Petitioner was fourteen years old at the time he was found guilty of the crimes. The panel held that the government relied on a coerced waiver of the right to counsel to secure the conviction because petitioner did not knowingly, intelligently, and voluntarily waive such right. Because admission of petitioner's confession was not harmless, the panel granted relief under 42 U.S.C. 2254. View "Rodriguez v. McDonald" on Justia Law