Proposition 57 is already at work for juvenile defendants in Sonoma County Superior Court.
Before this measure was decidedly passed by the voters on November 8, 2016, prosecutors could charge minors 15 or older as adults if they were suspected of any of a list of serious crimes including murder.
On November 29, 2016, the Honorable Jamie Thistlethwaite, a Sonoma County Superior Court Judge took action in response to the passage of Proposition 57. The Judge reversed charges against three Santa Rosa teenagers suspected of a gang shooting. Her ruling is essentially a decision on how the minors will be prosecuted which must be made by another judge—in this case not an adult Court Judge, but a Juvenile Court Judge!
With the passage of Proposition 57, all minors must now go before a juvenile court judge to determine if they are fit for rehabilitation or whether they should be transferred to adult court to be tried in an adult court setting. Proposition 57 strips prosecutors or the District Attorney of the right to charge minors as adults, now placing that authority solely with judges—Judge Thistlethwaite took this step.
Please CLICK HERE to be taken to our dedicated webpage for Juvenile Law for more information.
Prior to Judge Thistlethwaite’s intervention, three Santa Rosa teenagers suspected of participating in a gang shooting were headed for adult court. If these teens were convicted in adult court, each of them would have faced more than twenty years in prison. However, now their case is substantially different in a juvenile court setting where rehabilitation is the main emphasis and focus and NOT punishment.
Prior to Proposition 57 and Judge Thistlethwaite’s intervention, which is the first known case of its kind since its passage on November 8, 2016, the Sonoma County Prosecutor’s Office chose to directly file against the three minors. Two of the minors, Torres and Gonzalez, were charged with attempted murder while the third, Villa, was charged with assault with a deadly weapon.
Although the alleged crimes including the shooting and gang allegations occurred before the passage of Proposition 57, lawyers for the three teenagers argued it should apply nonetheless.
Fortunately, prosecutors did not oppose the request, (Judge Thistlethwaite’s action) but that’s not going to be the case all the time. The prosecution can argue that the proposition does not retroactively extend back prior to Proposition 57’s passages by the voters on November 8, 2016.
If you know of a juvenile defendant who is a family member or friend and has been charged as an adult, then it is imperative that the juvenile’s lawyer be fully versed with recently passed Proposition 57. Proposition 57 fortunately can benefit juveniles who have been charged with adult crimes so that they may receive the benefits of treatment or rehabilitation that they may need instead of languishing for decades in hardened state prisons.
Our law firm has been on the cutting-edge of juvenile law for over two decades since establishing our first office in Santa Rosa, CA in 1992. The consultation has always been free, so pick up the phone and speak to any one of our highly skilled and experienced attorneys for a free and confidential consultation.
Don’t wait, please feel free to call Fiumara & Milligan Law, PC at one of our conveniently located North Bay offices in either Santa Rosa at (707) 571-8600 or our Civic Center Drive address in San Rafael in Marin County at (415) 492-4507—“The right attorney makes all the difference.”
Doesn’t your juvenile deserves the very best legal representation?