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14- and 15-year-olds can't be tried in adult court, California Supreme Court rules [sfchronicle.com]

 

By Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, February 25, 2021

Fourteen- and 15-year-olds in California cannot be prosecuted in adult court, where they would face sentences of up to life in prison, the state Supreme Court ruled unanimously Thursday, upholding a 2019 state law that was challenged by prosecutors.

The law requires youths younger than 16 to be tried in juvenile court. The maximum confinement for juveniles is up to age 25, although a juvenile court judge could then order a β€œsafety hold” requiring placement in a medical center.

Prosecutors from a number of counties argued that the 2019 law violated a provision of a 2016 ballot measure, Proposition 57, that allowed them to charge 14-year-olds as adults if a juvenile court judge decided the case belonged in adult court, based on the crime and the youth’s record.

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