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Narith S. v. Superior Court (People)

California Court of Appeals, Second District, Third Division

December 4, 2019

NARITH S., Petitioner,
v.
The SUPERIOR COURT OF LOS ANGELES COUNTY, Respondent; The People, Real Party in Interest.

         [REVIEW GRANTED BY CAL. SUPREME COURT]

         [256 Cal.Rptr.3d 262] ORIGINAL PROCEEDINGS in mandate. Laura Laesecke, Judge. Petition granted. Los Angeles County Super. Ct. No. NA101252-02

Page 1132

         COUNSEL

         Cyn Yamashiro, Inglewood, and Markéta Sims, Independent Juvenile Defender Program, for Petitioner.

          No appearance for Respondent.

         Jackie Lacey, District Attorney, Phyllis Asayama and John Pomeroy, Deputy District Attorneys, for Real Party in Interest.

         OPINION

         EGERTON, J.

Page 1133

          Narith 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.

Page 1134

          BACKGROUND

         In 2015 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.[1] The case arose from a gang-related drive-by shooting at an apartment complex. After detectives gave Narith the Miranda admonition,[2] 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.

          Narith 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 court.

         On 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.

          On 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.

          DISCUSSION

          1. Proposition 57 and SB 1391

         In November 2016 the voters approved Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Reconciliation [256 Cal.Rptr.3d 263] Act of 2016. (People v. Superior Court (Alexander C.) (2019) 34 Cal.App.5th 994, 997, 246 Cal.Rptr.3d 712');">246 Cal.Rptr.3d 712 (Alexander ...


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