SB 1391 versus Proposition 47….a battle among the COAs

There has been much litigation over the constitutionality of SB 1391. SB 1391 eliminates the ability of district attorneys to try 14 or 15 year olds as adults. The DA’s claim is that SB 1391 conflicts with Proposition 57. Proposition 57 permits judges to decide whether to transfer 14/15 year olds to adult court.

Notably, the AG is not opposing the argument that SB 1391 is constitutional, so the DAs are briefing this as real parties in interest.

Every district, except one division (and not another) of the Second District have held that SB 1391 is constitutional: People v. Superior Court (Alexander C.) (2019) 34 Cal.App.5th 994, 997 (First District); People v. Superior Court (K.L.) (2019) 36 Cal.App.5th 529, 535 (Third District); People v. Superior Court (T.D.) (2019) 38 Cal.App.5th 360 (Fifth District); People v. Superior Court (S.L.) (2019) 40 Cal.App.5th 114, 121 (Sixth District); B.M. v Superior Court (2019) 40 Cal.App.5th 742 (Fourth District); Narith S. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, 2019 WL 6522737 (Second District, Div. 3.) Interestingly, there is a split in the Second District–Division 3 in Narith S. held SB 1391 is constitutional while division six held it is not. (O.G.) The California Supreme Court granted review in O.G., S.L., T.D., and I.R.

The reasoning in these cases is that the purpose of Proposition 57 was to ensure juvenile rehabilitation by channeling minors into the juvenile system, and SB 1391 furthers this goal. Read O.G. Probably the most intellectually dishonest opinion ever. Also they went out of there way to say how awful the crime was, calling the kid a “murderer” (I hate when courts label our clients), which is totally irrelevant. No shit he killed someone. We wouldn’t be here if he didn’t. Ironically they criticize the other courts, saying they are “enamored” with the way 15 year olds have been historically treated, saying this is “irrelevant.” Just an overall terrible opinion and I cannot wait to listen to Jennifer Hansen of LACAP argue the hell out of this case.

Published by Jenny Brandt

About Me: sociology, african american studies, chicano/a studies, critical race studies, and criminal law scholar. public school kid from kindergarten-J.D. Former public defender. I am a post-conviction guru. Appeals. Sentencing. Withdraw Pleas. Habeas. Published author in the Criminal Law Bulletin and California Defender. "I do it for the joy it brings, because I'm a joyful girl, because the world owes me nothing, and we owe each other the world." Why I started JJC: My PD buddy suggested it. What and who JJC is inspired by: public defenders I have worked for, with, and next to. my clients who have battled things no one should and are still here. innocence and guilt and everything in between. My coworkers, who fight just as hard as the PDs I love, for many of the same reasons. My husband who was once voted "most Christ like" (every Jewish girl's dream). My Corgi who loves everyone. The constitution. Tabloids. My mom, for giving me a voice. My dad, for teaching me what to say. My brother, for teaching me how to say it.

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