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A.D.T., a juvenile, pled guilty to first-degree premeditated murder, completed the incarceration portion of his juvenile sentence and was placed on conditional release. A.D.T. subsequently violated his conditional release by twice testing positive for drugs. The district court revoked his juvenile sentence and imposed his adult sentence of life imprisonment. A.D.T. appealed, arguing that manifest injustice was caused to his constitutional rights. The State counted that the district court strictly complied with the provisions of Kan. Stat. Ann. 38-2364(b) governing the revocation of A.D.T.’s juvenile sentence and the invocation of his adult sentence. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that it was not manifestly unjust for the district court to impose A.D.T.’s adult sentence for the positive urinalysis tests where (1) although A.D.T. did not receive the recommended substance abuse treatment while in the juvenile correctional facility, that circumstance cannot trump the plain language of section 38-2364(b); and (2) A.D.T. had fair notice and warning that, if he failed another drug test, he was facing a hard twenty-five life sentence as an adult. View "In re A.D.T." on Justia Law

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G.F., a minor, moved to seal the records pertaining to his dismissed petition alleging that he possessed a sharpened letter opener on school grounds. The Court of Appeal held that G.F. was entitled to have his records sealed under Welfare and Institutions Code section 786, because the statute is intended to apply to minors, like G.F., who successfully complete an informal program of supervision after a delinquency petition has been filed against them. The court explained that, once a petition has been filed, as it was here, the minor's program of supervision is governed by section 654.2, not section 654. Accordingly, the court reversed the trial court's denial of the motion to dismiss. View "In re G.F." on Justia Law

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The Georgia Supreme Court found that appellant Avery Bryant’s trial counsel was ineffective for failing to challenge the sufficiency of the police warrant leading to Bryant’s arrest. The warrant in question did not adequately describe the items police intended to seize, therefore the search was presumptively unreasonable and unconstitutional, “the warrant here did not simply omit a few items from a list of many to be seized, or misdescribe a few of several items . . . , the warrant did not describe the items to be seized at all.” Bryant had been convicted by jury of malice murder, felony murder, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, and possession of a pistol by a person under age 18. On appeal, he argued ineffective assistance of counsel, and that the trial court erred in instructing the jury. In light of the ineffective assistance claim, the Georgia Supreme Court did not address Bryant’s remaining claims of error, and remanded the case for further proceedings. View "Bryant v. Georgia" on Justia Law

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Yididya Woldemichael pleaded guilty to armed robbery and other charges for his role in the robbery and beating of a pizza delivery woman. He filed a petition for habeas corpus, which was granted on grounds that his trial counsel was ineffective for failing to advise Woldemichael that inculpatory custodial statements could have been suppressed. Woldemichael was 14 years old at the time of the police interview. The Warden appealed the grant of habeas relief, arguing that the statements were voluntary and would have been admissible at trial and, thus, counsel’s performance was not deficient. The Georgia Supreme Court agreed with the habeas court that Woldemichael’s statements to police were subject to suppression. But because the habeas court assumed, without separate analysis, that recorded statements that Woldemichael made to a co-defendant during a break in police questioning also were subject to suppression, it remanded for the habeas court to analyze the admissibility of those statements in the first instance. View "Oubre v. Woldemichael" on Justia Law

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Defendant, a juvenile, pleaded guilty to four counts of willful injury causing serious injury. Pursuant to the plea agreement, the district court sentenced Defendant to indeterminate sentences not to exceed ten years on each of the four counts to run consecutively for a maximum sentence of forty years. No mandatory minimum sentence was imposed, but because Defendant’s crime was a forcible felony, the sentencing judge was unable to consider a deferred judgment or probation as a sentencing option. Defendant filed a motion to correct an illegal sentence, which the district court denied. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the district court, holding (1) the forcible felony sentencing statute, Iowa Code 907.3, is not unconstitutional as applied to juvenile offenders; and (2) in considering a motion to correct an illegal sentence, the district court is not required to conduct an individualized sentencing hearing as to all juveniles regardless of whether the sentence has a mandatory term of years. View "State v. Propps" on Justia Law

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In 2006, Guy Lucero was convicted by jury for multiple offenses arising from a drive-by shooting. He was tried as an adult. The trial court sentenced Lucero to consecutive term-of-years prison sentences for each count, aggravated as crimes of violence, resulting in an aggregate sentence of eighty-four years. The court of appeals affirmed Lucero’s convictions and sentences on direct appeal. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court held in Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), that the Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibited the imposition of a life without parole sentence on a juvenile non-homicide offender, concluding that states must “give defendants like Graham some meaningful opportunity to obtain release based on demonstrated maturity and rehabilitation.” Subsequently, Lucero filed a motion pursuant to Rule 35(b) of the Colorado Rules of Criminal Procedure seeking reduction of his sentence. As relevant here, Lucero argued that his sentence must be reduced under Graham to meet constitutional standards, because an eighty-four-year sentence imposed on a juvenile carried the same implications as a sentence of life without parole. The trial court denied the motion; the court of appeals affirmed. The Colorado Supreme Court determined "Graham" and "Miller" did not apply here, and therefore, did not invalidate Lucero's aggregate term-of-years sentence. The Court also rejected Lucero’s argument that the court of appeals erred in treating his claim as one under Rule 35(c). View "Lucero v. Colorado" on Justia Law

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In 2000, Atorrus Rainer was convicted by jury on two counts of attempted first-degree murder, two counts of first-degree assault, one count of first-degree burglary, one count of aggravated robbery, and crime of violence. He was seventeen at the time of the charged offenses, and he was charged as an adult. Rainer was sentenced to forty-eight years for each attempted murder charge, thirty-two years for each assault charge, and thirty-two years each for the charges of burglary and aggravated robbery. The sentences for the two counts of attempted murder were subsequently ordered to run concurrently, as were the sentences for the two counts of assault, resulting in an aggregate sentence of 112 years. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), which categorically banned sentences of life without parole for juveniles who were not convicted of homicide, Rainer moved the district court to vacate the sentence, arguing that his aggregate term-of-years sentence was the functional equivalent of life without parole and therefore unconstitutional under "Graham." The district court denied the motion. On appeal, the court of appeals reversed, concluding that, because Rainer would be eligible for parole at about age seventy-five, thus ineligible for parole within his expected lifetime, he had no meaningful opportunity to obtain release and was unconstitutional under "Graham" and the subsequent case of Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012). The Colorado Supreme Court determined "Graham" and "Miller" did not apply here, and therefore, did not invalidate Rainer's aggregate term-of-years sentence. View "Colorado v. Rainer" on Justia Law

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In 1995, Cheryl Armstrong was convicted by jury on two counts of second-degree murder under a complicity theory. She was sixteen at the time of the charged offenses, and was tried as an adult. Armstrong was sentenced to forty-eight years in prison on each count, to be served consecutively, resulting in an aggregate sentence of ninety-six years. Following the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010), which categorically banned sentences of life without parole for juveniles who were not convicted of homicide, Armstrong moved the district court to vacate the sentence, arguing that her aggregate term-of-years sentence was the functional equivalent of life without parole and therefore unconstitutional under "Graham." The district court denied Armstrong’s motion. On appeal, the court of appeals affirmed, concluding that, because Armstrong will be eligible for parole at about age sixty, she has a meaningful opportunity to obtain release, and her sentence thereby complied with "Graham" and the subsequent case of Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012). The Colorado Supreme Court determined "Graham" and "Miller" did not apply here, and therefore, did not invalidate Armstrong's aggregate term-of-years sentence. View "Armstrong v. Colorado" on Justia Law

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In 2006, a jury convicted Alejandro Estrada-Huerta of second-degree kidnapping and sexual assault. Estrada-Huerta was seventeen at the time he was charged, and he was tried as an adult. The trial court sentenced Estrada-Huerta to twenty-four years for the kidnapping conviction and sixteen years to life for each count of sexual assault. The sexual assault sentences were ordered to run concurrently with each other but consecutive to the kidnapping sentence, resulting in an aggregate sentence of forty years to life in the custody of the Department of Corrections. Estrada-Huerta moved to vacate his sentences, arguing his aggregate term-of-years sentence was the functional equivalent of life without parole and was therefore unconstitutional under Graham v. Florida, 560 U.S. 48 (2010). The court of appeals affirmed, concluding that, because Estrada-Huerta would be eligible for parole at age fifty-eight, he had a meaningful opportunity to obtain release, therefore his sentence complied with “Graham” and the subsequent case of Miller v. Alabama, 132 S. Ct. 2455 (2012). The Colorado Supreme Court affirmed the appellate court’s result, though on different grounds. The Court found that “Graham” and “Miller” did not apply in this matter; Estrada-Huerta was not sentenced to life without the possibility of parole: he received consecutive terms for three separate convictions. View "Estrada-Huerta v. Colorado" on Justia Law

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Defendant was sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) for special circumstance murder. While defendant's original appeal was pending, the United States Supreme Court decided Miller v. Alabama, (2012) 567 U.S. 460, which held that mandatory LWOP sentences for juvenile homicide offenders violated the Eighth Amendment. In defendant's first appeal, the Court of Appeal reversed the judgment and remanded to the trial court to reconsider defendant's LWOP sentence after applying the individualized sentencing criteria set forth in Miller. After the trial court again imposed an LWOP sentence, defendant appealed once more. In supplemental briefing, defendant argued that Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 applied retroactively to his case. In the published portion of this opinion, the Court of Appeal held that the suitability hearing provisions of Proposition 57 are not retroactive. View "People v. Marquez" on Justia Law