Justia Juvenile Law Opinion Summaries

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The Supreme Court vacated the adult portion of A.W.'s juvenile disposition, holding that because the juvenile court's order invoking the adult sentence under the serious youthful offender (SYO) specification was not journalized until A.W. turned twenty-one years old, the juvenile court lacked subject matter jurisdiction when it entered the adult portion of the sentence. At the age of seventeen, A.W. committed an act which, if committed by an adult, would constitute the offense of rape. The count was later amended to include an SYO specification. The court placed A.W. in custody until he would turn twenty-one years old and found A.W. to be an SYO. As A.W. neared his twenty-first birthday the State filed a motion to invoke the adult portion of his SYO sentence on the grounds that he had failed to complete "mandatory" sex-offender treatment. After a hearing, the juvenile court terminated the juvenile disposition and invoked the adult sentence. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that although the juvenile court issued its order invoking the adult sentence while A.W. was twenty years old, the clerk of the court did not enter that order upon the journal until after A.W. turned twenty-one years old, depriving the juvenile court of subject matter jurisdiction. View "In re A.W." on Justia Law

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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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On March 25, 2013, the 18-year-old defendant Clifford Williams shot and killed 15-year-old Ralphmon Green in the 2100 block of Allen Street in New Orleans. The victim was struck by bullets four times and defendant continued to fire at him after he fell to the ground. Eight shell casings found at the crime scene matched a semiautomatic handgun that was later found at defendant’s residence. Several eyewitnesses to the shooting testified that the victim was unarmed. Before trial, the defense was prohibited from introducing evidence of the victim’s juvenile arrest for illegal carrying of a weapon. At trial, the defense unsuccessfully attempted to introduce other evidence of the victim’s character. Specifically, the defense sought to introduce a photograph that depicted the victim holding a gun, evidence that the victim had threatened defendant on social media, and testimony of a witness that the victim had previously threatened defendant. In rejecting defendant’s claim on appeal that the district court erred in excluding this evidence, the court of appeal found that defendant failed to introduce appreciable evidence of a hostile demonstration or overt act on the part of the victim at the time of the offense charged, as required by La.C.E. art. 404(A)(2)(a). Defendant contended the court of appeal erred because testimony of an eyewitness constituted appreciable evidence of an overt act by the victim, and the district court overstepped its bounds in evaluating the credibility of that witness to find the evidence was not appreciable because the witness was not credible. To this point, the Louisiana Supreme Court agreed. However, the Court found the evidence was otherwise inadmissible, and therefore affirmed the conviction and sentence. View "Louisiana v. Williams" on Justia Law

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Louisiana charged D.T. with aggravated battery committed with a firearm, and sought to divest the juvenile court of jurisdiction and to prosecute D.T. as an adult pursuant to Louisiana Children’s Code Article 305(B)(2)(j). In response, D.T. filed a motion with the juvenile court to declare La. Ch.C. art. 305(B)(2)(j) unconstitutional. The juvenile court granted D.T.’s motion. On the state's application to the Louisiana Supreme Court, the Supreme Court concurred with the trial court that La. Ch.C. art. 305(B)(2)(j) was indeed unconstitutional, concluding the legislature exceeded its constitutional authority in creating an exception allowing divesture of juvenile court jurisdiction for a child charged with aggravated battery committed with a firearm, where that charge is not among the crimes enumerated in La. Const. art. V, sec. 19. View "Louisiana in the interest of D.T." 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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On September 20, 2010, at age of 13 appellant, H.R., was adjudicated delinquent for indecent assault of a complainant less than 13 years of age. Appellant was placed on official probation and, pursuant to Section 6352 of the Juvenile Act, was ordered to undergo inpatient treatment at a sex offender residential treatment facility. Appellant remained in treatment when he turned 20 in February 2017 and he was assessed pursuant to Section 6352, the results of which found that involuntary treatment at a sex offender residential treatment facility pursuant to the Court-Ordered Involuntary Treatment of Certain Sexually Violent Persons Statute (Act 21) was still necessary. On January 4, 2018, following a hearing, a trial court denied appellant's motion to dismiss and granted the petition for involuntary treatment, determining appellant was an sexually violent delinquent child (SVDC) and committing him to one year of mental health treatment. On appeal, appeal, appellant argued: (1) Act 21 was punitive in nature, and this its procedure for determining whether an individual was an SVDC was unconstitutional; and (2) retroactive application of amendments to Act 21 made effective in 2011, was also unconstitutional. The Pennsylvania Supreme Court determined the superior court correctly determined the relevant provisions of Act 21 were not punitive, were constitutional, thus, affirming the trial court's order. View "In re: H.R." on Justia Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals reversing the decision of the trial court denying R.R.S.'s motion to withdraw his plea of "true" to allegations that he sexually assaulted his younger brother when he was thirteen years old, holding that a child's legal inability to consent to sex does not render the child legally incapable of committing aggravated sexual assault. Based on R.R.S.'s admissions and plea, the trial court found him delinquent. Before the disposition hearing, R.R.S. unsuccessfully filed a motion to withdraw his plea and requested a new trial. The court of appeals reversed the denial of the motion, ruling that because R.R.S. was not adequately informed when he entered his plea about his potential defense that he could not have committed aggravated sexual assault because he could not legally "consent to sex" the trial court erred in denying the motion. The Supreme Court reversed the court of appeals' decision and reinstated the trial court's judgment, holding that the court of appeals erred in holding that R.R.S.'s lack of knowledge of his inability to consent to sex required the trial court to grant his motion to withdraw his plea and for a new trial. View "State v. R.R.S." 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