<< Judge calls new juvenile justice law ridiculous

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Since you’re a judge, what would you have done if a teen committed the following crimes?

A teen sold a baggy of marijuana.

Prop. 21 doesn’t make too much of a difference with that child since the crime is not a 707(b)* crime. The judge still has a full range of options. He can send the child to the California Youth Authority or if the child has a clean record he can put him on probation. The judge might consider making that child do time in juvenile hall or participate in community service activities.

*(If teens commit the crimes in 707(b), the list of serious crimes included in the Welfare and Institutions Code, they are likely to get harsher treatment under Prop. 21.)

A teen bullied another kid and stole his bike.

Before Prop 21 passed, since it’s not a 707(b) crime, the child wouldn’t have had to do mandatory time in juvenile hall. If the child was over 14 but younger than 16 the district attorney’s office could not have filed a petition to try the child as an adult.
After Prop. 21, the child waits in Juvenile Hall until he sees a judge. The judge determines if he can be sent home or not.

If the child is 16 or older at the time of the offense, the district attorney can file the charge in adult court without a juvenile judge reviewing the case. If the child is 14 or older at the time of the offense, now the district attorney can file a motion to have that child tried as an adult and the child must prove he or she is fit to be tried as a juvenile.

A mentally ill kid stabs another kid over a candy bar.

Before Prop. 21, there would have been a presumption that the child was not fit for juvenile court. The child would have had a hearing before a juvenile court judge in order to determine if the child was fit or not.

After Prop. 21, if the child commits certain offenses, depending on the nature of the crime, there is a presumption that the child should go to adult court. Mental illness is not a factor. The child is tried in the adult system before jurors.

Some provisions of Prop. 21

1. Authorizes prosecutors to decide if juveniles should be tried in the adult system.

2. Takes away the support of prevention programs.

3. Allows sentences for youth to be longer.

4. Makes it a crime to have knowledge of a crime ahead of time.

5. Takes away the privacy of juvenile court records by eradicating the confidentiality rules.