BILL ANALYSIS                                                                                                                                                                                                    



                                                                     SB 382


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          Date of Hearing:  June 30, 2015


          Counsel:               Stella Choe








                         ASSEMBLY COMMITTEE ON PUBLIC SAFETY


                                  Bill Quirk, Chair





          SB  
          382 (Lara) - As Amended June 15, 2015


                       As Proposed to be Amended in Committee








          SUMMARY:   Adds guidance to the existing criteria used by judges  
          in determining the fitness of a minor to have his or her case  
          adjudicated in juvenile court.  Specifically, this bill:










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          1)Adds the following discretionary factors within each of the  
            existing five criteria used to determine whether a minor is a  
            fit and proper subject to be dealt with in the juvenile court  
            system:

             a)   The degree of criminal sophistication exhibited by the  
               minor. Specifies that the juvenile court may give weight to  
               any relevant factor, including, but not limited to, the  
               minor's age, maturity, intellectual capacity, and physical,  
               mental, and emotional health at the time of the alleged  
               offense, the minor's impetuosity or failure to appreciate  
               risks and consequences of criminal behavior, the effect of  
               familial, adult, or peer pressure on the minor's actions,  
               and the effect of the minor's family and community  
               environment and childhood trauma on the minor's criminal  
               sophistication;

             b)   Whether the minor can be rehabilitated prior to the  
               expiration of the juvenile court's jurisdiction. Provides  
               that the juvenile court may give weight to any relevant  
               factor, including, but not limited to, the minor's  
               potential to grow and mature;



             c)   The minor's previous delinquent history.  Provides the  
               juvenile court may give weight to any relevant factor,  
               including, but not limited to, the seriousness of the  
               minor's previous delinquent history and the effect of the  
               minor's family and community environment and childhood  
               trauma on the minor's previous delinquent behavior;



             d)   Success of previous attempts by the juvenile court to  
               rehabilitate the minor.  Specifies that the juvenile court  








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               may give weight to any relevant factor, including, but not  
               limited to, the adequacy of the services previously  
               provided to address the minor's needs; and,



             e)   The circumstances and gravity of the offense alleged in  
               the petition to have been committed by the minor.   
               Specifies that the juvenile court may give weight to any  
               relevant factor, including, but not limited to, the actual  
               behavior of the person, the mental state of the person, the  
               person's degree of involvement in the crime, the level of  
               harm actually caused by the person, and the person's mental  
               and emotional development.





          2)Revises the five criteria that a juvenile must demonstrate to  
            the court when requesting a juvenile court disposition in his  
            or her case, which was initiated in adult criminal court  
            without a prior finding that the person was not fit for  
            juvenile court, to add the same discretionary factors above.

          EXISTING LAW:  





          1)States, except as provided, any person who is under the age of  
            18 when he or she violates any law of this state or of the  
            United States or any ordinance of any city or county of this  
            state defining crime other than an ordinance establishing a  
            curfew based solely on age, is within the jurisdiction of the  
            juvenile court.  (Welf. & Inst. Code,  602, subd. (a).)










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          2)Provides in any case where the juvenile court determines  
            fitness of the minor, the court must examine whether the minor  
            would or would not be amenable to the care, treatment, and  
            training program available through the juvenile court, based  
            upon an evaluation of the following criteria:

             a)   The degree of criminal sophistication exhibited by the  
               minor;

             b)   Whether the minor can be rehabilitated prior to the  
               expiration of the juvenile court's   jurisdiction;

             c)   The minor's previous delinquent history;

             d)    Success of previous attempts by the juvenile court to  
               rehabilitate the minor; and, 

             e)   The circumstances and gravity of the offense alleged in  
               the petition to have been committed by the minor. (Welf. &  
               Inst. Code,  707, subds. (a) and (c).)

          3)Authorizes a minor who has had his case prosecuted in adult  
            criminal court, without a prior fitness hearing, to make a  
            motion to receive a disposition under the juvenile court law,  
            based upon each of the following five criteria:

             a)   The degree of criminal sophistication exhibited by the  
               person;

             b)   Whether the person can be rehabilitated prior to the  
               expiration of the juvenile court's jurisdiction;



             c)   The person's previous delinquent history;











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             d)   Success of previous attempts by the juvenile court to  
               rehabilitate the person; and,



             e)   The circumstances and gravity of the offense for which  
               the person has been convicted. (Pen. Code,  1170.17.)



          FISCAL EFFECT:  Unknown.





          COMMENTS:  



          1)Author's Statement:  According to the author, "SB 382 would  
            update the existing 5 criteria used by judges when determining  
            the fitness of an individual to enter the adult criminal  
            justice system to ensure judges consider, such as the actual  
            behavior of the individual and their ability to grow, mature,  
            and be rehabilitated.  It is critical that judges have the  
            most relevant information and full picture of an individual,  
            before they make the critical decision of which jurisdiction a  
            juvenile offender should be charged in."

          2)Background:  According to background materials provided by the  
            author's office, "Traditionally, juveniles in California could  
            only be transferred to the adult criminal courts after a  
            judicial 'fitness' hearing. At the hearing, the juvenile court  
            judge would receive a comprehensive social study report, and  
            evaluate the young person's 'fitness' to remain in juvenile  
            court in light of five criteria relating to criminal history,  
            past attempts at rehabilitation, capacity to be rehabilitated,  
            criminal sophistication, and characteristics of the alleged  








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            offense.  Since the enactment of Proposition 21 in 2000,  
            juveniles as young as 14 years of age may also be handled in  
            the adult courts by prosecutorial 'direct file,' which  
            bypasses the traditional judicial hearing."
          
          3)Jurisdiction Over Juvenile Offenders:  California law  
            generally provides that persons under the age of 18 who are  
            alleged to have committed a crime are within the jurisdiction  
            of the juvenile court.   However, there are three discrete  
            mechanisms for remanding minors to adult criminal court:

            By statutory waiver, meaning that a statute mandates that  
            juveniles who fall into certain categories automatically will  
            be transferred to adult court.  Current statutes provide that  
            juvenile court has no jurisdiction over minors 14 years of age  
            and older who are alleged to have committed first degree  
            murder where the minor personally murdered the victim, or who  
            are alleged to have committed specified "1-strike" forcible  
            sex crime offenses under certain circumstances; these offenses  
            are required to be prosecuted in adult court.  (Welf. & Inst.  
            Code,  602, subd. (b).)

            By prosecutorial waiver, meaning for certain cases prosecutors  
            have the discretion to file charges against certain minors in  
            juvenile or adult criminal court.  For minors 14 years of age  
            or older, a prosecutor may directly file the case in adult  
            criminal court if the minor has previously committed an  
            offense listed in Welfare and Institutions Code section 707(b)  
            and the current offense is also one of those listed offenses,  
            as well as in other enumerated circumstances such as when a  
            minor is alleged to have committed an offense that if  
            committed by an adult would be punishable by death or  
            imprisonment in state prison for life.  (Welf. & Inst. Code,   
            707, subd.(d)(2).)  For minors 16 years of age or older, a  
            prosecutor may directly file the case in adult criminal court  
            if the minor's current offense is one of the offenses listed  
            in Welfare and Institutions Code section 707(b).  (Welf. &  
            Inst. Code,  707, subd. (d)(1).)









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            By judicial waiver, meaning that juvenile court judges use  
            their discretion to determine whether to waive jurisdiction  
            over a case.  In these instances, the court must make a  
            determination as to whether the minor is fit for juvenile  
            court.  The juvenile court determines the fitness of a minor  
            for juvenile court by weighing whether the minor would be  
            amenable to the care, treatment, and training program  
            available through the facilities of the juvenile court, based  
            upon an evaluation of the following criteria:

             a)   The degree of criminal sophistication exhibited by the  
               minor;
             b)   Whether the minor can be rehabilitated prior to the  
               expiration of the juvenile court's   jurisdiction;
             c)   The minor's previous delinquent history;
             d)   Success of previous attempts by the juvenile court to  
               rehabilitate the minor; and,
             e)   The circumstances and gravity of the offense alleged in  
               the petition to have been committed by the minor. (Welf. &  
               Inst. Code,  707, subds. (a) and (c).)  

            This bill deals with judicial waivers, where a court considers  
            the five enumerated factors to determine the fitness of a  
            minor for juvenile court. This bill merely provides additional  
            guidance to the courts on how to evaluate the criteria, and  
            replaces the term "consider" with "give weight to."

          4)Proposed Amendments to be Adopted in Committee: This bill will  
            be heard as proposed to be amended. The amendments are  
            non-substantive in nature. The amendments conform the language  
            provided in Penal Code section 1170.17 to the language in  
            Welfare and Institutions Code section 707 in order to make the  
            discretionary factors uniform in both sections.
          
          5)Arguments in Support:  

             a)   According to the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights,  
               "Current law allows youth as young as 14 to be charged as  
               adults.  Some youth may be direct filed by prosecutors,  








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               bypassing the courts, while other youth must go through a  
               fitness hearing where a judge makes the determination to  
               remove the youth from juvenile proceedings into adult  
               court, or keep the youth in juvenile court.  Current law  
               requires judges to apply 5 criteria to make this  
               determination.  In light of significant changes in the law  
               and findings on adolescent brain development, this bill  
               would codify additional factors that judges should take  
               into consideration, including maturity, intellectual  
               capacity, childhood trauma, and the level of harm directly  
               caused by the youth."

             b)   The Judicial Council writes, "The Judicial Council  
               supports SB 382 because it enhances judicial discretion,  
               increases uniformity in courts when considering the fitness  
               of a juvenile to enter either the juvenile court system or  
               the adult criminal justice system, and is consistent with  
               existing practices. SB 382 enhances judicial discretion by  
               providing further illustration of the five existing  
               criteria judges must consider when determining whether an  
               individual should be tried as a juvenile or as an adult for  
               certain serious crimes. Judges are free to use their  
               discretion to determine which factors are relevant to each  
               of the five listed criteria and to consider additional  
               factors similar to those listed by SB 382.

               "Further, the council believes that by giving courts  
               additional guidance on the Legislature's intent behind each  
               of the five criteria listed in existing law, SB 382 will  
               result in greater consistency in the application of those  
               factors by courts.  Finally, many criminal justice partners  
               already consider those factors when determining whether an  
               individual is fit for either the juvenile court system or  
               the adult court system."

          6)Prior Legislation:  SB 1151 (Kuehl), of the 2003-2004  
            Legislative Session, would have clarified the definition of  
            the "circumstances and gravity of the offense" for purposes of  
            evaluating the fitness of a minor for juvenile court  








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            jurisdiction.  SB 1151 was vetoed.



          REGISTERED SUPPORT / OPPOSITION:





          Support


          


          Anti-Recidivism Coalition (Sponsor)


          Human Rights Watch (Sponsor)


          Alliance for Boys and Men of Color


          American Civil Liberties Union of California


          American Probation and Parole Association


          Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus


          Californians for Safety and Justice 
          Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice


          Children Now








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          Children's Defense Fund - California


          East Bay Children's Law Office


          Friends Committee on Legislation of California


          Judicial Council


          Legal Services for Prisoners with Children 
          Los Angeles Regional Reentry Partnership


          National Employment Law Project


          Office of Restorative Justice of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles


          PolicyLink


          Post-Conviction Justice Project, USC Gould School of Law


          Root & Rebound 


          Violence Prevention Coalition of Greater Los Angeles 
          Youth Law Center












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          Opposition


          


          None





          Analysis Prepared by:Stella Choe / PUB. S. / (916)  
          319-3744