California Court of Appeals, Second District, Third Division
ORIGINAL PROCEEDINGS in mandate. Los Angeles County Super.
Ct. No. NA101252-02, Laura Laesecke, Judge. Petition granted.
Yamashiro and Markéta Sims, Independent Juvenile
Defender Program, for Petitioner.
appearance for Respondent.
Lacey, District Attorney, Phyllis Asayama and John Pomeroy,
Deputy District Attorneys, for Real Party in Interest.
S. petitions for a writ of mandate requiring the trial court
to vacate its order denying his motion to remand his case to
juvenile court. Narith was 15 years old at the time of the
offenses with which he is charged. The trial court ruled
Senate Bill No. 1391 (SB 1391) unconstitutional. We agree
with our colleagues in the First, Third, Fourth, Fifth, and
Sixth Districts who have recently confronted this issue and
concluded that SB 1391 is constitutional. Accordingly, we
grant Narith's petition.
the People charged Narith with nine counts of attempted
murder as well as shooting at an inhabited dwelling and
discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle. The case
arose from a gang-related drive-by shooting at an apartment
complex. After detectives gave Narith the Miranda
admonition,  he told them he had fired a number of
shots from the back seat of his friend's car after
yelling “Fuck Chongos” (a derogatory term for the
gang that is his gang's rival). Five victims were struck
with bullets; all five survived. Narith was 15 years old at
the time of the alleged crimes.
was arraigned in criminal (adult) court in November 2015. A
year later his counsel moved to remand his case to juvenile
court. In January 2017 the trial court certified Narith to
the juvenile court. In June 2018 the juvenile court found
Narith unfit for juvenile court and returned him to criminal
January 3, 2019, Narith filed a motion to remand his case to
juvenile court, citing SB 1391. The district attorney opposed
the motion, arguing SB 1391 is “an unconstitutional
amendment to the provisions of Welfare and Institutions Code
section 707, as amended by an initiative statute, Proposition
57.” Narith filed a reply.
February 20, 2019, the court heard the motion. The court
ruled SB 1391 unconstitutional and therefore denied
Narith's motion to be transferred back to the juvenile
court. Narith filed a petition for a writ of mandate and a
request for a stay of his adult proceedings. We issued an
order to show cause and a stay.
Proposition 57 and SB 1391
November 2016 the voters approved Proposition 57, the Public
Safety and Reconciliation Act of 2016. (People v.
Superior Court (Alexander C.) (2019) 34 Cal.App.5th 994,
997 (Alexander C.).) Proposition 57 “
‘largely returned California to the historical
rule' ” in effect before 2000 that “required
a juvenile court to declare a minor unfit for the juvenile
system before a district attorney could prosecute that minor
in criminal court.” (Alexander C., at pp.
997-998.) Under Proposition 57, “ ‘
“[c]ertain categories of minors... can still be tried
in criminal court, but only after a juvenile court judge
conducts a transfer hearing to consider various factors such
as the minor's maturity, degree of criminal
sophistication, prior delinquent history, and whether the
minor can be rehabilitated.”' ”
(Alexander C., at p. 998, quoting People v.
Superior Court (Lara) (2018) 4 Cal.5th 299, 305.)
57 set forth five purposes: “1. Protect and enhance
public safety. [¶] 2. Save money by reducing wasteful
spending on prisons. [¶] 3. Prevent federal courts from
indiscriminately releasing prisoners. [¶] 4. Stop the
revolving door of crime by emphasizing rehabilitation,
especially for juveniles. [¶] 5. Require a judge, not a
prosecutor, to decide whether juveniles should be tried in
adult court.” (People v. Superior Court (S.L.)
(2019) 40 Cal.App.5th 114, 121, review granted Nov. 26, 2019,
S258432 (S.L.), quoting Voter Information Guide,
Gen. Elec. (Nov. 8, 2016) text of Prop. 57, § 2, p. 141
(Voter Guide).) Proposition 57 “authorize[d]
legislative amendment of its provisions that amended [Welfare
and Institutions Code] section 707, ‘so long as such
amendments are consistent with and further the intent of this
act by a statute that is passed by a majority vote of the
members of each house of the Legislature and signed by the
Governor.' ” (People v. Superior Court
(K.L.) (2019) 36 Cal.App.5th 529, 535 (K.L.),
quoting Voter Guide, § 5, p. 145.)
September 2018 the Governor approved SB 1391 (2017-2018 Reg.
Sess.) (Stats. 2018, ch. 1012, § 1). It took effect
January 1, 2019. SB 1391 “eliminates the district
attorneys' ability to seek transfer of 14 and 15 year
olds from juvenile court to criminal court” (subject to
a narrow exception if the minor is “ ‘not
apprehended prior to the end of juvenile court
jurisdiction' ”). (Alexander C.,
supra, 34 Cal.App.5th at p. 998; Welf. & Inst.
Code, § 707, subd. (a)(2).) The Legislature declared
that SB 1391 ...