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Saturday, December 19, 2015

SB 260 AND 261; THE SAME, BUT DIFFERENT

SB 260 AND 261; THE SAME, BUT DIFFERENT
January, 2016 will herald the implementation of SB 261, which extends the factors of Youth Offender Parole Hearings (YOPH) to those lifers and long-serving determinate sentenced prisoners who were under 23 years old at the time of their crime. And while the factors of eligibility for the two bills are the same (under 23, not a sex crime, no conviction for additional serious/sex crime after the age of 23 and having served a minimum time, based on sentence) the timing of those coming to parole hearings under 261 will be substantially different..
Under the original YOPH bill, SB 260, the BPH had a total of 18 months to bring everyone affected by the bill to a parole hearing. This feat was accomplished, but not without fallout. Specifically, many determinate sentenced prisoners, coming to their first ever parole hearing in the last 6 months of the implementation period, were unprepared, both from a programming and rehabilitation standpoint, resulting is a dismal 5% grant rate for this cohort. And, because of the increased number of CRAs required, the FAD fell behind in preparing the evaluations, causing many prisoners to face their hearing with a CRA they had received mere days earlier.
Because of these findings, and because the number of prisoners potentially impacted under SB 261 is so large (an early estimate is perhaps 9,700) the legislature passed a companion bill to SB 261, SB 519, which allows for considerable alternation in the original time frame for hearings to take place. The two bills were passed out of the legislature together, signed by Gov. Brown on the same day and will go into effect in unison.
Instead of 18 months the BPH will now have two full years to bring all life term inmates who qualify for YOPH under the new age considerations to a hearing, either initial or subsequent. The hearings for lifers under 261 will begin in January, 2016 and must take place by the end of 2017. For those DSL inmates who qualify for 261, the board now has until the end of 2021 to bring those individuals to a parole hearing.
And while possibly waiting an additional 6 months in the case of lifers, or a few more years in the case of DSL inmates, might seem disappointing at first SB 261 still has the potential to cut years off a lifer’s sentence and for those DSL inmates serving impossibly long, virtual toe-tag sentences, 261 can be a real life-line. The additional time will also, it is anticipated, allow the FAD to complete and provide the required CRAs in a more timely fashion.
There are other, less impactful differences and nuances in the two bills as well as new procedures for implementing SB 261, all of which are too lengthy to detail in a short newsletter. Specifics of these details are being sent to prisons, for dissemination to the inmate population, and for the edification of correctional counselors. Whether or not the information actually reaches inmates is anyone’s guess.
The BPH has prepared a comprehensive 3 page explanation of these new developments, covering many areas of concern, including how notifications will be made, who will determine eligibility for inclusion in SB 261, how the new bill will affect PTA and other hearing scheduling matters. LSA will forward this document to any inmate who requests the report, along with explanatory notations on each section. More, in depth information will also be available in the December issue of CLN.
We can also provide an explanation of consultation hearings, which will be occurring for many inmates in the coming months in preparation for eventual consideration under YOPH. There is no charge for this information, however, stamps or SASE are helpful to our staff and budget.
Please send your requests to: LSA, PO BOX 277, Rancho Cordova, Ca. 95741 and mark the outer envelope : SB 261/519.


As previously announced, beginning in January CRAs will be done every 3 years instead of every 5 years and no Supplemental Risk Assessments will be done..

Parole For Young Lifers

SB 260 AND 261; THE SAME, BUT DIFFERENT
January, 2016 will herald the implementation of SB 261, which extends the factors of Youth Offender Parole Hearings (YOPH) to those lifers and long-serving determinate sentenced prisoners who were under 23 years old at the time of their crime. And while the factors of eligibility for the two bills are the same (under 23, not a sex crime, no conviction for additional serious/sex crime after the age of 23 and having served a minimum time, based on sentence) the timing of those coming to parole hearings under 261 will be substantially different..
Under the original YOPH bill, SB 260, the BPH had a total of 18 months to bring everyone affected by the bill to a parole hearing. This feat was accomplished, but not without fallout. Specifically, many determinate sentenced prisoners, coming to their first ever parole hearing in the last 6 months of the implementation period, were unprepared, both from a programming and rehabilitation standpoint, resulting is a dismal 5% grant rate for this cohort. And, because of the increased number of CRAs required, the FAD fell behind in preparing the evaluations, causing many prisoners to face their hearing with a CRA they had received mere days earlier.
Because of these findings, and because the number of prisoners potentially impacted under SB 261 is so large (an early estimate is perhaps 9,700) the legislature passed a companion bill to SB 261, SB 519, which allows for considerable alternation in the original time frame for hearings to take place. The two bills were passed out of the legislature together, signed by Gov. Brown on the same day and will go into effect in unison.
Instead of 18 months the BPH will now have two full years to bring all life term inmates who qualify for YOPH under the new age considerations to a hearing, either initial or subsequent. The hearings for lifers under 261 will begin in January, 2016 and must take place by the end of 2017. For those DSL inmates who qualify for 261, the board now has until the end of 2021 to bring those individuals to a parole hearing.
And while possibly waiting an additional 6 months in the case of lifers, or a few more years in the case of DSL inmates, might seem disappointing at first SB 261 still has the potential to cut years off a lifer’s sentence and for those DSL inmates serving impossibly long, virtual toe-tag sentences, 261 can be a real life-line. The additional time will also, it is anticipated, allow the FAD to complete and provide the required CRAs in a more timely fashion.
There are other, less impactful differences and nuances in the two bills as well as new procedures for implementing SB 261, all of which are too lengthy to detail in a short newsletter. Specifics of these details are being sent to prisons, for dissemination to the inmate population, and for the edification of correctional counselors. Whether or not the information actually reaches inmates is anyone’s guess.
The BPH has prepared a comprehensive 3 page explanation of these new developments, covering many areas of concern, including how notifications will be made, who will determine eligibility for inclusion in SB 261, how the new bill will affect PTA and other hearing scheduling matters. LSA will forward this document to any inmate who requests the report, along with explanatory notations on each section. More, in depth information will also be available in the December issue of CLN.
We can also provide an explanation of consultation hearings, which will be occurring for many inmates in the coming months in preparation for eventual consideration under YOPH. There is no charge for this information, however, stamps or SASE are helpful to our staff and budget.
Please send your requests to: LSA, PO BOX 277, Rancho Cordova, Ca. 95741 and mark the outer envelope : SB 261/519.


As previously announced, beginning in January CRAs will be done every 3 years instead of every 5 years and no Supplemental Risk Assessments will be done..

No Child Under 18 Should Be Tried As An Adult

http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2015/12/14/what-age-should-young-criminals-be-tried-as-adults/no-one-younger-than-18-should-be-tried-as-an-adult.
The Opinion Pages
No One Younger Than 18 Should Be Tried as an Adult
Carmen Daugherty is the policy director for the Campaign for Youth Justice, which is dedicated to ending the practice of trying, sentencing and incarcerating youth under 18 in the adult criminal justice system.
Updated December 14, 2015, 10:40 AM

Laws that permit youth under the age of 18 to enter the adult criminal justice system represent a departure from the traditional understanding of juvenile justice — to serve the best interests of the child.
An overwhelming amount of research shows that the adult criminal justice system is ill equipped to meet the needs of youth offenders, from trial to incarceration and re-entry. Beyond what brain science reveals about adolescent development, experts contend that the adult criminal justice system does not deter repeat offenses by juveniles under 18.
Youth placed in the adult system had 34 percent more re-arrests, and often, at faster rates and more dangerous levels. Mental health needs go unmet in adult settings across the country and little training is offered to facility staff on working with the youngest offenders. Meanwhile, the juvenile justice system, more broadly, puts an emphasis on the rehabilitation, treatment, education and public safety of youth in its care. It is rare that you will find that kind of express mission — let alone a program focused on treatment and education — in state departments of corrections.
Young offenders are more likely to succeed on a personal level if they receive comprehensive services that support positive youth development. But in a broader sense, comprehensive juvenile justice is safer for society as a whole. Ninety-five percent of youth charged as adults return home by their 25th birthday: Don’t we want them better off than when they entered the system?
Yet nine states still place 17-year-olds in the adult system for any offense — including simple misdemeanors or traffic related offenses — building permanent adult records for juveniles before they are even out of high school. For North Carolina and New York, the age one goes into the adult system is 16.
Nearly every state uses a variety of legal processes to transfer youth to the adult system sometimes, either through judicial or prosecutorial discretion or through laws that prevent certain alleged offenses from being heard in juvenile or family courts.
But the federal government has released recommendations on best practices and approaches to reducing children's exposure to violence — including a recommendation to avoid prosecuting youth in adult courts that "ignore and diminish their capacity to grow."


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Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Hundreds Of Juveniles Interrogated By Police In California

Boy's murder conviction sharpens debate on whether juveniles are fit to waive rights:
By Maura DolanRecent Columns

November 29, 2015, 2:00 a.m.

Joseph, 10, had just told police he shot his father while he slept. The father had threatened to remove smoke detectors from the home and burn the family in it, the boy related, and had beaten him and his stepmother.

A detective told Joseph he had the right to remain silent and asked whether Joseph understood that.

"That means I have the right to stay calm," Joseph replied.

After hearing more explanation from the detective, Joseph waived his rights and was later convicted of murder. He was one of hundreds of juveniles interrogated by police in California each year who waive legal rights that some experts say the youngsters do not understand.

"With many adolescents, the most important thing is what is going to happen to them in the next half hour," said University of Massachusetts emeritus medical professor Thomas Grisso. "Can they go home? Adults are much more likely to consider the longer-term consequences."

Joseph's case has sharpened a debate among courts over whether juveniles are savvy enough to waive their legal rights.

After a majority on the California Supreme Court declined last month to review Joseph's case, two dissenting justices asked the Legislature to consider establishing new rules or guidelines for the interrogation of juveniles. Other courts also have tackled the question in recent rulings: At what age are juveniles cognitively and emotionally capable of understanding the consequences of their actions in the criminal justice system?

Studies show that juveniles, particularly those under 13, cannot fully comprehend the implications of talking to police without lawyers. They are more likely than adults both to waive their rights and to confess to crimes they didn't commit. When they do falsely confess, it is often to protect others, according to experts in juvenile justice.

Some states have rules to protect juveniles during interrogations, but California decides whether waivers are valid on a case-by-case basis — and only when a verdict results in an appeal. The practice prompted three state high court justices — all with young children and appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown — to dissent when the court refused to take up Joseph's case.

"Consideration of special safeguards for young children need not await judicial action," Justice Goodwin Liu, joined by Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, wrote in a dissent. "Many states have found the issue worthy of legislative attention." Justice Leondra Kruger also wanted to review the case but did not sign Liu's dissent.

Liu noted that 613 kids under the age of 12 were arrested for felonies in 2011, the year Joseph killed his father. More than 500 minors in that age group were arrested for felonies in 2012, nearly 450 in 2013 and 281 in 2014, Liu said.

"The proper application of Miranda to children in Joseph's age range likely affects hundreds of cases each year, even though few such cases result in a trial and appeal," Liu wrote.

The issue already had been raised by other courts before Liu's dissent grabbed attention.

A San Francisco-based state appeals court recently condemned police tactics in the case of a 13-year-old found to have committed a lewd and lascivious act upon a child.

Justice J. Anthony Kline, writing for a three-judge panel, blamed detectives' "accusatory … dominating, unyielding and intimidating" interrogation for the boy's admission that he touched a 3-year-old in the vaginal area out of curiosity. The court noted that detectives lied to the boy — a practice permitted in the U.S. but not in several European countries — to extract an admission.

"The realization that children and adolescents are much more vulnerable to psychologically coercive interrogations and in other dealings with the police" is well-known, Kline wrote.

Kline's ruling cited research that found that juveniles were particularly susceptible to confessing to crimes they didn't commit. In a 2004 study of 125 proven false confessions, juveniles accounted for one-third of admissions. Another study of 340 exonerations found that 13% of the adults falsely confessed compared with 42% of the juveniles.

In yet another case of a juvenile confession, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in August overturned the murder conviction of Adrian Reyes, 15, for Derek Ochoa's slaying in a gang assault. The ruling hinged on the way the police interrogated the boy.

Riverside police traced a car at the crime scene to an older cousin of Reyes, who had just turned 15. Police questioned the high school freshman over two days without advising him of his rights and falsely told him he had been identified by a witness as the culprit, according to the court. Reyes also was given a polygraph, without any consent by an adult. The result of the test was not in the court records, the 9th Circuit said. Reyes was told he failed.

A detective asked him whether he was afraid of going to jail. Reyes said he was afraid of being locked up for 25 years.

Detective: "How many 15-year-olds do you know that go to jail for 25 years?"

Reyes: "None."

Detective: "OK, so why would you be any different?"

After confessing, Reyes asked the police not to tell his parents. He repeated the admission after being read his rights and received a 50-year sentence.

UC Irvine professor Elizabeth E. Cauffman, an expert in the development and treatment of anti-social behavior in adolescents, cited research that she said showed juveniles 15 and younger lack the cognitive ability to understand what happens at a trial.

"We are transferring kids to the adult court system and they are not competent to stand trial," she said.

Adolescents generally are cognitively mature at age 16, but lack emotional "self-regulation," she said. The brain is not fully developed until age 25. Studies show that by that age, people can control their impulses and tend to commit fewer crimes, she said.

Despite such research, Californians passed Proposition 21 in 2000, giving prosecutors wide authority to charge a juvenile in adult court. Public sentiment has since changed, according to polls, and the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down laws mandating life without parole for juveniles who kill.

"The pendulum is kind of swinging, with courts saying tough, hard punishments for very young kids don't make a lot of sense," said Barry Krisberg, a social scientist and expert in juvenile justice. "The legal world is trying to catch up to the brain science."

Kent Scheidegger, legal director of the pro-death penalty Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, said he would like Miranda rights to be eliminated and all interrogations videotaped. He called the brain research about adolescents' legal culpability "a bunch of hooey."

"I am reluctant to draw bright lines on age because people mature at different rates and people become street smart at different rates," Scheidegger said.

UC Berkeley law professor Franklin E. Zimring, on the other hand, said he favors a requirement that a parent's consent be obtained before a minor can be interrogated.

"Anybody who understands what goes on during a police interrogation asks for a lawyer and shuts up," Zimring said.

maura.dolan@latimes.com


Twitter: @mauradolan


http://www.latimes.com/local/crime/la-me-kids-confess-20151129-story.html