Allow prosecution of 14 and 15-year-old violent offenders in adult court
Allow prosecution of 14 and 15-year-old violent offenders in adult court
Undo unjust law that mandates lenient sentences for violent offenders, traumatizes victims, and endangers society.
California’s Senate Bill 1391 prohibits the adult prosecution of juveniles under 16. In California, one tried as a juvenile can only be incarcerated until their 25th birthday. They can only be incarcerated beyond their 25th birthday after a trial is conducted and a jury unanimously finds beyond a reasonable doubt that they continue to pose a danger. If the jury does make this finding, the offender can only be incarcerated for an additional 2 years. After those 2 years have passed the process must be repeated. This process will be repeated every 2 years until the criminal is freed.
We oppose SB 1391 because:
* By giving dangerous criminals dozens of chances to be released, starting when they are only 25, SB 1391 endangers the public.
* By allowing 14 and 15-year-olds responsible for rape, murder, and other serious crimes to be released at age 25, after only 10-11 years, SB 1391 denies justice.
* By forcing victims to endure up to several dozen trials, SB 1391 forces them to repeatedly re-live the crimes and traps them in a never-ending cycle of pain.
* By mandating that 14 and 15-year-old assailants receive dozens of trials unless they are released beforehand, SB 1391 drains the system.
SB 1391 requires that all juvenile offenders under 16 be tried in juvenile court, no matter how serious their crimes are. Even 14 and 15-year-old murderers, rapists, and other very dangerous criminals cannot be tried in adult court. Under California law, juvenile court jurisdiction only extends until an offender is 25 years old. Once they turn 25, they must be released.
If prosecutors wish to keep dangerous felons incarcerated beyond their 25th birthdays, they must petition for an extension of juvenile court jurisdiction. The process of keeping the dangerous offender incarcerated is difficult. A full explanation is given below. To summarize, a trial will be conducted to determine if the perpetrator is still dangerous. A jury must unanimously find that the offender is “physically dangerous to the public because of his or her mental or physical deficiency, disorder, or abnormality which causes the person to have serious difficulty controlling his or her dangerous behavior.” Prosecutors must prove the criminal’s danger beyond a reasonable doubt. If the prosecution succeeds, the offender may be incarcerated for up to 2 years. After 2 years, they will be entitled to another trial and the entire process will be repeated. The entire process will be repeated every other year until the criminal is ultimately released. We just should not have to conduct trials every other year to keep dangerous aspiring serial killers like Daniel Marsh away from society.
SB 1391 is dangerous
SB 1391 is based on the absurd idea that all juvenile criminals under 16 can be rehabilitated by age 25. Yes, most juvenile offenders can reform. But not all juvenile criminals are the same.
For some juvenile felons, the rehab process will take longer than 10 or 11 years. For diagnosed psychopaths, rehab may never occur. But SB 1391 guarantees the release of psychopathic and dangerous criminals by age 25 unless traumatic trials are conducted.
As explained further below, the process of keeping dangerous felons in juvenile detention is difficult and grueling. These felons would be entitled to trials every 2 years. Giving dangerous criminals so many chances to obtain release almost guarantees that, at some point, they will obtain that release. And keep in mind that the jury must unanimously find that the criminal poses a danger beyond a reasonable doubt. That’s a high standard. What happens when, eventually, at least 1 juror believes their danger cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt? Because the felons would be entitled to potentially dozens of trials, they would be able to learn prosecutor tactics. The offenders would also be able to determine why they were unsuccessful in the trials that resulted in continued incarceration. They would be able to address those barriers to release at subsequent trials, which, again, would occur every other year.
SB 1391 hurts victims
Victims would be forced to endure painful trials and re-live the crimes over and over again. They could end up enduring dozens of trials in their lives. They would be trapped in a never-ending cycle of torment and trauma. They would have to live knowing that even if they make it through the next trial and the perpetrator is allowed to remain incarcerated, they will have to do it all over again in 2 years and then again 2 years after that and 2 years after that. If and when the criminals are released, victims would endure significant trauma.
By mandating a chance for release as early as age 25, SB 1391 will deny justice. A 14 or 15-year-old who is incarcerated until age 25 will only spend 10 or 11 years behind bars. Some crimes, however, may warrant longer sentences. 10 or 11 years extremely lenient when compared to some brutal crimes, such as Daniel Marsh’s torture, murder, and mutilation of Chip Northup and Claudia Maupin. Allowing criminals like Marsh to live unfettered lives from age 25 onward, while their victims are dead and/or living lives of pain and anguish is unjust. http://www.teenkillers.org/index.php/juvenile-lifers/offenders-cases-state/individual-offender-profiles/yolo-county/daniel-marsh/
SB 1391 drains the system
Conducting trials every 2 years would take large amounts of time, money, and resources. That time, money, and resources could be spent elsewhere.
Chip Northup and Claudia Maupin
Daniel Marsh, 15, tortured and murdered Oliver “Chip” Northup, 87, and his wife Claudia Maupin, 76, in their home. He stabbed them both over 60 times and eviscerated and dissected their bodies. He later described the murders as giving him the most enjoyable feeling he had ever experienced, which was heightened when the victims were conscious and resisting. Marsh planned additional murders as well. He had long been fantasizing about torturing and murdering people and aspired to become a serial killer. Marsh is a diagnosed psychopath. http://www.teenkillers.org/index.php/juvenile-lifers/offenders-cases-state/individual-offender-profiles/yolo-county/daniel-marsh/
Adrian Gonzalez, 15, lured Maddy into his apartment with the promise of ice cream. Once Maddy was in the apartment, the offender restrained her from behind, tied her up with duct tape, and raped her. He then is believed to have strangled her. After Maddy kept breathing, he is believed to have stabbed her in the neck 3 times. The killer put the girl’s body in trash bags and placed her in a dumpster. He even pretended to help search for her.
Vincent Lising-Campos, a 15-year-old gangster, shot Allie to death. He was tried as a juvenile and is set to be released at age 25 due to SB 1391.
JJ was murdered in an ambush-style shooting while on his way to a football game. He was 17 years old.
Because of SB 1391, Keymontae Lindsey, the killer, was tried in juvenile court. Whereas JJ cannot live life past 17, the murderer could be released at 23.
Keeping dangerous felons out of society under SB 1391
California law allows offenders who are tried in juvenile court to be incarcerated beyond their 25th birthdays if they are found to pose a danger. But the process of keeping these killers incarcerated is difficult and traumatic. A prosecutor must petition for an extension of juvenile court jurisdiction. As Criminal Justice Legal Foundation attorney Kym Stapleton points out in her post:
[The petition] must be done every two years (or less) and involves many different facets and levels. It first depends on either the Division of Juvenile Facilities or the Board of Parole Hearings to inform the Director of the Division of Juvenile Justice that releasing a (no longer) juvenile offender is a bad idea. (Welf. & Inst. Code § 1800; § 1800.5). It next depends on the D.A. to file a petition requesting that the (no longer) juvenile offender remain further detained. If the D.A. files a petition, the court must determine if the petition, “on its face” supports a finding of probable cause. (Welf. & Inst. Code § 1801). If yes, the court will order a “probable cause” hearing whereby the court will receive evidence and determine if there is “probable cause to believe that discharge of the person would be physically dangerous to the public because of his or her mental or physical deficiency, disorder, or abnormality which causes the person to have serious difficulty controlling his or her dangerous behavior.” (Welf. & Inst. Code § 1801). If the court determines there is not probable cause, the petition is dismissed and the (no longer) juvenile offender must be released. If the court determines that probable cause does exist, then the court must order a trial be conducted. If a trial is ordered, it must be by jury unless waived by the (no longer) juvenile offender. The (no longer) juvenile offender is “entitled to all rights guaranteed under the federal and state constitutions in criminal proceedings.” (Welf. & Inst. Code § 1801.5) At trial, the finder of fact must answer the following question: “Is the person physically dangerous to the public because of his or her mental or physical deficiency, disorder, or abnormality which causes the person to have serious difficulty controlling his or her dangerous behavior?” (Welf. & Inst. Code § 1801.5). The standard of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt and the jury verdict must be unanimous. If the court or jury determines that releasing the (no longer) juvenile offender is dangerous to the public, he or she may remain committed for up to two more years. What happens when the two more years is up? The whole process as just described must happen again, and again, and again… (Welf. & Inst. Code § 1802).
SB 1391 hurts victims, endangers the public, and drains the system. We should not have to conduct agonizing and expensive trials every 2 years to make sure that dangerous rapists and murderers aren’t released into society. Please stand up for justice, safety, and victims’ rights by signing this petition.