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Proposition 57 may impact juvenile crimes system

In November 2016, Proposition 57 was voted into law in California. This places a strong emphasis on rehabilitation over incarceration. Not only will it likely have significant impact on the juvenile crimes system in the state, but could directly affect two young men who were charged with murder and attempted murder (the one charged with the latter has since been convicted).

One of the young men was charged for crimes that occurred before he turned age 18. He is now 22 and is currently serving a lengthy prison sentence. The other person has been charged as an adult for the murder of a classmate, as well as the attempted murder of another in connection with alleged gang-related activity.

That man's attorney has asked the court to halt criminal proceedings, citing that Proposition 57 applies, even though his client was charged before it was voted into law. Therefore, lawyer claims this entitles the client an opportunity to have his fitness to remain within the juvenile system determined before he is ordered to be tried as an adult. A chief deputy for the District Attorney's office argued the law is not meant to be retroactive.

With regard to the 22-year-old currently behind bars, his attorney has argued that Proposition 57 should be retroactive because his client's case is still in the appellate court. An appeal was filed due to alleged clerical errors. Because that appeal is still active, the attorney said his client's sentence should be vacated on Prop 57 grounds. Navigating the juvenile crimes system in California (or anywhere) is challenging and even intimidating. Any parent concerned with such issues can reach out for support from a criminal defense attorney's office.

Source: marinij.com, "Max Wade and Novato teen murder suspect roll dice on Prop. 57", Gary Klien, Jan. 8, 2017

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