A Ventura County judge says the state law barring 14- and 15-year-old from being tried as adults for murder is unconstitutional. The constitutionality question arose from two Ventura County murder cases. In one case, a 15-year-old Oxnard boy faces charges in two separate homicides.
Investigators say the boy shot a Port Hueneme man in April 2018 and then stabbed an Oxnard man the following month. Ventura County prosecutors filed motions seeking to try the boy as an adult in both cases. Before the court ruled on the motion, Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1391 into law. The law prevents young teens from being tried as adults.
In his ruling, Judge Kevin McGee said he intended to grant the prosecutors’ requests. In doing so, he therefore found the new law to be unconstitutional. McGee is not the only judge to question the propriety of SB 1391. Judges in Kern, Santa Clara, San Diego and Solano Counties have also questioned the law’s constitutionality. Other courts have accepted the law, raising questions about the need for a clarification from a higher court. The State Attorney General’s Office has also said that the law is constitutional and that it comports with voter-approved Proposition 57.
The lawyer representing the juvenile at the center of the case expects to file an appeal of McGee’s ruling. The constitutionality question revolves around whether trying teens as adults can achieve the rehabilitation called for by Proposition 57. If tried in juvenile court, the murder defendant could be released from state custody in his mid-20’s. If tried as an adult, the defendant could remain incarcerated indefinitely.
Oxnard Murder Attorney
Homicide is the most serious charge you can face under California law. For a juvenile defendant, the prospect of lifetime imprisonment is exceptionally harsh. When you face homicide charges – regardless of your age – you need an experienced murder attorney. Robert Helfend has more than 30 years of experience in criminal defense. He has defended thousands of Californians in court during that time. He takes murder cases in Ventura County and throughout Southern California.
An effective murder defense requires an experienced, focused and aggressive criminal defense attorney. When your life is literally at stake, don’t rely on inexperience to help you. Instead, hire an attorney who will fight for your freedom.
Contact Robert Helfend or call toll-free at (800) 834-6434, (805) 273-5611, (310) 456-3317 or (818) 591-2809 for an immediate consultation on your Ventura County murder case.