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One year ago, in Deal v. Commissioner of Correction, 475 Mass. 307 (2016) (Deal I), the Supreme Judicial Court concluded that the procedure used by the Department of Correction to determine the security classification of juvenile homicide offenders violated Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 119, 72B, as amended by St. 2014 ch. 189, 2, which prohibits the Department from categorically barring juvenile homicide offenders from being placed in minimum security facilities. Since then, the Department has developed a modified process for classifying juvenile homicide offenders. Petitioners - juvenile homicide offenders who were also petitioners in Deal I - challenged that modified process in this case. The Supreme Court held that, after applying the holding in Deal I, the Department continued to fall short of the requirements of section 72B where the Department’s written explanations for blocking the majority of objectively qualifying juvenile homicide offenders from placement in a minimum security facility do not go far enough to ensure that the classification procedure is actually individualized and that no juvenile homicide offender is categorically barred from classification to a minimum security facility. View "Deal v. Commissioner of Correction" on Justia Law

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Defendant's appeal of her life without the possibility of parole (LWOP) sentence was dismissed as moot in light of Senate Bill No. 394, which provides a youth offender parole hearing to defendant and others similarly situated. Prior to SB 394, Penal Code section 3051 provided that juvenile offenders who were sentenced to LWOP would die in prison without the opportunity for a parole suitability hearing. SB 394 amended section 3051 to expressly provide a youth offender such as defendant a suitability hearing after 25 years of incarceration. View "People v. Lozano" on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court dismissed the State’s appeal from the circuit court’s use of three nonmodel jury instructions at Appellee’s resentencing hearing, holding that the State failed to demonstrate that the appeal involved the correct and uniform administration of the law or that this was a proper State appeal. Appellee was resentenced after his life sentence was vacated for failure to comport with Miller v. Alabama, 467 U.S. 460 (2012). During the resentencing hearing, the circuit court instructed the jury with three nonmodel instructions based upon the Miller decision. The jury returned a sentence of forty years’ imprisonment, and the circuit court entered an order reducing Appellee’s sentence accordingly. The State appealed, arguing that the use of the nonmodel jury instruction was error. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal, holding that this was not a proper State appeal. View "State v. Lasley" on Justia Law

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A 2015 petition for adjudication of wardship charged the minor, JB, with criminal trespass to a motor vehicle, a Class A misdemeanor (720 ILCS 5/21-2). JB pled guilty. The circuit court sentenced him to 12 months’ court supervision, 30 days’ stayed detention, and community service, informing him that under section 5-710(1)(b), if he violated the terms of his supervision, it could place him on probation or hold him in custody for up to 30 days or send him to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). At the time, the maximum sentence for a Class A misdemeanor was less than one year of incarceration. During the months that followed, JB repeatedly left his placement, had warrants issued for his arrest, served time in the juvenile temporary detention center, and was repeatedly warned that he could be sentenced to the DJJ. In February 2016, the court found it to be in JB’s best interest to commit him to the DJJ. JB argued that an amendment to section 5-710(1)(b) of the Juvenile Court Act, effective on January 1, 2016, precluded the court from committing him to the DJJ for his misdemeanor offense. The appellate court and Illinois Supreme Court affirmed the commitment order. Section 5-720(4) focuses on the sentences available under section 5-710 at the time of a minor’s initial sentence. JB’s conduct of leaving his residential placement merely provided the grounds for revoking his probation; the court did not sentence him to the DJJ for a new offense. The commitment sentence constituted a resentencing for the original, underlying offense. View "In re Jarquan B." on Justia Law

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Two wardship petitions, filed in San Mateo County in 2013, charged the minor, W.R. with possession of a dagger, battery, and resisting arrest, and with vandalism. He had several probation violations. San Francisco County filed a third petition, alleging robbery, assault likely to cause great bodily injury, and false personation. The court found the allegations not true and returned the case to San Mateo County, where fourth and fifth petitions were filed. San Francisco accepted a transfer of all cases after a sixth petition. After a seventh petition, the court ordered out-of-state placement. After he was returned to San Francisco, W.R. moved to seal his juvenile records. (Welfare and Institutions Code 786.) The court terminated the misdemeanor probation terms satisfactorily and dismissed the single felony count. The district attorney argued that section 786 did not authorize the sealing of the records pertaining to one 2015 petition for which W.R. was not found competent and, therefore, did not satisfactorily complete probation. The court granted the minor’s request in part but declined to seal the felony and 2015 petition's records. The court of appeal reversed in part. The statute does not reference the entire juvenile court file, as W.R. claimed, but the court: should have sealed the records in a case dismissed as part of a plea bargain; had discretion to seal records pertaining to another petition in which the allegations were found not true; but did not have discretion to seal records pertaining to a petition filed after the last petition for which the minor was placed on probation. W.R. may seek to have those records sealed under section 781. View "In re W.R." on Justia Law

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The juvenile court found that Dean W. (the ward) had committed a misdemeanor violation of Vehicle Code section 23152, driving under the influence. He was declared a ward of the court and placed on probation. The ward signed an advisement pursuant to Vehicle Code section 23593 and California v. Watson, 30 Cal.3d 290 (1981). The court later found that the ward had successfully completed his probation and terminated his wardship. Furthermore, the court granted the ward’s request to seal his juvenile court records, except for one document regarding his acknowledgment that he knew driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol was dangerous to human life (his "Watson" advisement). The issue before the Court of Appeal was whether the trial court properly decided not to seal the ward’s juvenile record in full. The Court of Appeal concluded after review that the Welfare and Institutions Code allows minors who have completed their rehabilitation to have “all” records of their juvenile adjudication sealed. The Vehicle Code authorizes criminal prosecutors to use a criminal defendant’s acknowledgment of the dangerousness of driving under the influence as evidence of implied malice in a later second-degree murder case. Here, the ward’s right to have all of his juvenile records sealed includes the ward’s acknowledgment​ of the dangerousness of driving under the influence. Therefore, the Court reversed the juvenile court’s order, with directions to seal the entirety of the ward’s records, to ensure that other government agencies specified in the statute seal the ward’s records, and to consider whether other government agencies also be ordered to do so. View "In re Dean W." on Justia Law

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A hearing conducted by the district court to determine if a juvenile offender should be sentenced to a minimum term of incarceration without eligibility for parole did not, in this case, comply with constitutional safeguards. The district court concluded that the juvenile in this case should serve the statutory mandatory minimum term of incarceration before becoming eligible for parole. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the district court abused its discretion in its application of the sentencing factors because critical conclusions drawn by the court at the sentencing hearing were not grounded in science but rather based on generalized attitudes of criminal behavior that may or may not be correct as applied to juveniles. The court remanded the case for resentencing in light of State v. Roby, 897 N.W.2d, 127 (Iowa 2017). View "State v. White" on Justia Law

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In this action alleging that D.S. allegedly engaged in acts of sexual contact with another boy, the Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal and reinstated the juvenile court’s order dismissing the complaint pursuant to Juv. R. 9(A) before a delinquency case against D.S. progressed to a formal court proceeding. The State charged D.S. with three delinquency counts of of gross sexual imposition pursuant to Ohio Rev. Code 2907.05(A)(4) for his conduct with another boy. Both boys were under the age of thirteen at the time of the offenses. The juvenile court dismissed the case, holding (1) section 2907.05(A)(4) was unconstitutional as applied to D.S.; and (2) dismissal was proper under Juv. R. 9. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion by dismissing the matter pursuant to Juv. R. 9(A). View "In re D.S." on Justia Law

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The Cook County circuit court found sections of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (705 ILCS 405/5-101(3), 5-605(1) unconstitutional as applied to Destiny who was 14 years old when she was charged with four counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted murder, one count of aggravated battery with a firearm, three counts of aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and one count of unlawful possession of a weapon. The court held that these sections, which do not provide jury trials for first-time juvenile offenders charged with first-degree murder, violated the equal protection clauses of the U.S. and Illinois Constitutions, but rejected the defense argument that these sections were unconstitutional on due process grounds. On direct appeal, the Illinois Supreme Court affirmed with respect to the due process challenge but reversed with respect to equal protection. Destiny cannot show that she is similarly situated to the comparison groups: recidivist juvenile offenders charged with different crimes and tried under one of two recidivist statutes. These are the only classes of juvenile offenders who face mandatory incarceration if adjudicated delinquent and the legislature has denied a jury trial only to the former. The two classes are charged with different crimes, arrive in court with different criminal backgrounds, and are tried and sentenced under different statutes with distinct legislative purposes. Due process does not mandate jury trials for juveniles. View "In re Destiny P." on Justia Law

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Baton Rouge police officers found two juveniles passed out at 1 a.m. in a truck parked at a McDonald’s restaurant. A strong odor of marijuana emanated from the open windows. Fifteen-year-old C.T. was seated in the front passenger seat with a pistol in his lap. A search revealed a bag of marijuana in the driver’s possession as well as a burnt marijuana cigarette in the center console. Crystal Etue had reported the truck stolen several weeks earlier. She did not know either juvenile or authorize them to use the truck. C.T. was adjudicated delinquent for illegally carrying a weapon while in possession of a controlled dangerous substance, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. The juvenile court committed him to the custody of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections until he turned twenty-one. The court of appeal affirmed the adjudication and commitment. Finding no reversible error in the adjudication and commitment, the Louisiana Supreme Court affirmed. View "Louisiana in the Interest of C.T." on Justia Law