Category: Juveniles

The Current Status of The People v. Daniel William Marsh

In April of 2013, Daniel Marsh was 15 years old when he broke into Chip Northup and Claudia Maupin‘s condominium in the middle of the night and heinously murdered them as they slept.  His case was directly filed in adult criminal court and, in 2014, he was convicted by a jury of two counts of first degree murder with special circumstances.  The trial court imposed a sentence of 52 years to life.  The Northup and Maupin families found relief in the verdict and sentence and believed Marsh would be locked up for a very long time.  Unfortunately, their relief was short lived and their fight for justice had just begun.  Continue reading . . .

Murderer to be Tried as a Juvenile Years After Conviction Under Proposition 57

MyNewsLA has this story on Kevin Orellana, an 18-year-old who was murdered by two brothers in 2013 while playing handball at Reseda’s Cleveland High School. Orellana was approached by Anthony and Michael Carpio, both identified as gang members. Michael was hitting and fighting Orellana when Anthony began stabbing him as a gang challenge. Anthony, who was 16-years-old at the time stabbed Orellana 10 times in his head and neck, from behind, leading to his death.

Continue reading . . .

Stabbed in the Back by Softness on Crime

City News Service reports:

A man who was sentenced to 196 years to life in prison for his role in a series of San Diego drive-by slayings, but was released last year due to changes to state law regarding juvenile defendants, was ordered Monday to stand trial for allegedly robbing and stabbing a stranger in El Cajon.

Dejon Satterwhite, 32, is accused of stabbing a man in the back on March 11, about six months after he was released from state prison. Continue reading . . .

Dumping a Dishonest Precedent Less Than Honestly — Part II

In Jones v. Mississippi, decided April 22, the U.S. Supreme Court held that in cases where a juvenile is facing life without parole (LWOP) for murder, all that is needed to comply with its 2012 precedent in Miller v. Alabama is for the sentencing court to have discretion to choose a lower sentence and consider the defendant’s youth in making the choice.

That would have been fairly straightforward based on Miller itself. The complications arose from the 2016 decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana, making Miller retroactive so as to require resentencing for a 1963 murder. The problem, as explained at length in the previous post, is that Montgomery contradicted Miller in order to achieve that result, and Montgomery even contradicted itself, making statements that cannot be reconciled.

In Jones, the majority opinion joined by five Justices and the dissent joined by three have many sharp points of disagreement, but they agree on one thing. Both maintain the fiction that Montgomery is consistent with Miller. As a result, neither opinion’s analysis can possibly be completely correct, and neither is. Continue reading . . .

Dumping a Dishonest Precedent Less Than Honestly — Part I

Last week the U.S. Supreme Court decided the case of Jones v. Mississippi, regarding the constitutional requirements to sentence an under-18 murderer to life in prison without parole (LWOP). The majority opinion claims to “carefully follow[] both Miller [v. Alabama] and Montgomery [v. Louisiana].” The dissent claims “the Court guts” both decisions. Neither statement is completely right. Neither could be, given that Montgomery contradicts both Miller and itself.

About all that is left of Montgomery is its bare holding that Miller is retroactive. That holding will soon be essentially moot, as nearly all the murderers who killed before their 18th birthday who qualify for reconsideration under Miller will either have had a new decision in their cases (see footnote 6 of Jones, last sentence) or have lost their right to seek it by delay. The holding stands like the chimney of a house that burned down, useless but still standing.

There is a certain poetic justice in Montgomery being largely relegated to the dustbin in a less-than-honest decision, as Montgomery itself is among the most dishonest decisions in recent Supreme Court history. Continue reading . . .

Coverage of Jones Decision

Not a lot of media coverage of the Jones v. Mississippi decision. A lot of other events were happening yesterday. Jessica Gresko has this story for Associated Press:

In a statement, Kymberlee Stapleton of the California-based Criminal Justice Legal Foundation called the decision a “victory for the families of victims murdered by juveniles.”

Continue reading . . .

Major Victory in Juvenile Murder Case

Today the U.S. Supreme Court decided Jones v. Mississippi, No. 18-1259, a case of teenager who murdered his grandfather. The high court pruned back expansive language in its 2016 decision in Montgomery v. Louisiana. The decision confirms that the 2012 case of Miller v. Alabama requires only that the sentencer have discretion to choose between life without parole and a lesser sentence in the case of a juvenile murderer. There is no requirement imposed by the federal constitution that the judge find that the juvenile is “permanently incorrigible,” a finding that cannot be made with any degree of reliability. Continue reading . . .

Legislative Amendments to California Voter Enacted Law

This morning the California Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of a statute passed by the state legislature (SB 1391) that prohibits 14- and 15-year-old criminal offenders from being prosecuted as adults.  In the case of in O.G. v. Superior Court (S259011), the issue was whether the California Legislature unconstitutionally amended the statutory provisions of Proposition 57 when it enacted SB 1391.  Prop. 57 was voted into law by a majority of California voters in 2016.  The ballot measure eliminated a District Attorney’s ability to directly file criminal charges against individuals under age 18 in adult court.  The measure instead gave juvenile court judges the sole authority to decide whether violent juveniles ages 14 and older should be prosecuted as adults only after conducting a full evidentiary hearing in the juvenile court.  In 2018, former Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1391 into law.  SB 1391 prohibits 14 and 15 year olds from being criminally prosecuted as adults regardless of the crime committed.  CJLF filed a brief (found here) arguing that SB 1391 unconstitutionally amended Prop. 57.  Today the California Supreme Court held that SB 1391 “is fully consistent with and furthers” the intent and purpose of Prop. 57 and upheld the statutory amendment.

Continue reading . . .

Who decides if a teen killer should be tried as an adult?

On Tuesday morning, the California Supreme Court heard oral argument in the case of O.G. v. Superior Court (S259011).  The issue is whether the California Legislature unconstitutionally amended the statutory provisions of Proposition 57 when it enacted SB 1391.  Prop. 57 was voted into law by a majority of California voters in 2016.  The ballot measure eliminated a District Attorney’s ability to directly file criminal charges against individuals under age 18 in adult court.  The measure instead gave juvenile court judges the sole authority to decide whether violent juveniles ages 14 and older should be prosecuted as adults only after conducting a full evidentiary hearing in the juvenile court.  In 2018, former Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1391 into law.  SB 1391 prohibits 14 and 15 year olds from being criminally prosecuted as adults regardless of the crime committed.  In a nut shell, voter enacted Prop. 57 gives juvenile court judges the sole authority to decide whether juveniles (ages 14 and older) should be prosecuted as adults and legislature enacted SB 1391 prohibits 14 and 15 years olds from being prosecuted as adults.  SB 1391 (the legislature) takes away what Prop. 57 (the voters) authorized.  CJLF filed a brief (found here) arguing that SB 1391 unconstitutionally amended Prop. 57.

Continue reading . . .

Stimson Testimony on Ohio Juvenile LWOP Bill

Yesterday, Charles Stimson of the Heritage Foundation presented the following testimony to the Ohio House Criminal Justice Committee. The committee is presently considering Senate Bill 256, which would abolish sentences of life without parole for criminals who commit major crimes as little as one day before their 18th birthdays.

Mr. Stimson was motivated to give this testimony because advocates of the bill had “misstated the law in the area” and “provided misleading information.” Continue reading . . .