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New California Criminal Laws: Part Trois

For our third installment of notable new laws, here are two concerning juvenile justice. We’re gonna prosecute fewer kids as adults. This is Senate Bill 1391. It amends the Welfare and Institutions Code to eliminate the prosecution of 14- and 15-year-olds as adults. Going forward, these cases must always remain in the juvenile system. Before, Read More

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On the Friday Before Christmas …

When all through the House, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse: Congress enacted a major change to federal sentencing law. It’s called the First Step Act, and you may have heard about it. Here’s a press release on it from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. What does it do? About ten things. Read More

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The Common Application Bans the Box

Do you have a kid in high school? Are you in high school yourself and plan to go to college? You may want to check this out. On August 7, the Common Application announced that it will no longer ask about an applicant’s criminal record, starting with the 2019-20 pool of applicants. The Common Application Read More

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When You Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

You may never serve on a jury, but suppose you did. How would you feel—how would any of us feel—if we voted to convict someone innocent? This person knows. In 2009, she voted to convict a 17-year-old boy for murder based on the testimony of one eyewitness. The witness and victim were friends, and they were Read More

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Judge Regrets Sentencing Teen to Life Without Parole

Speaking of harsh penalties, how’s 241 years in prison for a 16-year-old boy? Well, it happened to this boy twenty years ago. The judge who sentenced him told him he’d die in prison. She told him he wouldn’t even be eligible for parole until 2091, when no one he knew would be alive, anyway. One can Read More

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New California Criminal Laws: Part Deux

To conclude the series, here’s the fab five we promised last week. Kids age 15 or younger must talk to a lawyer before the police interrogate them. This is Senate Bill 395. It amended the Welfare and Institutions Code to require that kids consult a lawyer before they waive their Miranda rights. They can do the Read More

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California’s New Sex-Offender Registry

Big news out of California last week. Beginning in 2021, the state will replace its current sex-offender registry, which requires everyone to register for life, with a three-tiered system that distinguishes among low-risk, medium-risk, and high-risk offenders. People in the first tier will be able to petition to end their registration after ten years. You’re in this tier Read More

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Expunging Juvenile Records in California

If you spent time in juvie, and you don’t qualify to seal your records, you can still petition to expunge your case. If the court grants your petition, it will set aside the finding of guilt, dismiss the case, and release you from all penalties resulting from it. That’s what the statute says, anyway. In reality, an expungement doesn’t erase the past Read More

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Sealing Juvenile Records in California

In the case we wrote about last week, a California court held that it wasn’t cruel and unusual punishment to require a minor to register as a sex offender for life. The court noted, however, that a kid could be relieved of this requirement if he got his juvenile records sealed. So how do you Read More

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Lifetime Sex-Offender Registration for Kids

Do you think sex-offender registration is punishment? What if it’s for life? What if it’s for a 12-year-old boy? Last week, the California Court of Appeal ruled that it’s not punishment to call a kid a sex offender for life because of something he did when he was twelve years old. According to the court, the boy’s early years Read More

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