California v. Super. Ct.Annotate this Case
Proposition 57 eliminated the State's ability to directly file charges against a juvenile offender in adult court and instead authorized the State to file “a motion to transfer the minor from juvenile court to a court of criminal jurisdiction.” Prior to the passage of Proposition 57, the State directly filed a complaint against real party in interest, a minor, in adult court under the authority of former section 707(d)(2) of the Welfare and Institutions Code. A preliminary hearing took place May 26, 2016; on June 10, 2016, the State filed an information charging real party in interest with felony violations of Penal Code sections 209(b)(1), 286(c)(2)(B), and 288a(c)(2)(B). On November 16, 2016, real party in interest filed a motion requesting “a fitness hearing in juvenile court pursuant to recently enacted legislation via Proposition 57.” After considering written opposition from the State, who argued Proposition 57 could not be applied to real party in interest's case retroactively, the trial court granted the motion on November 29, 2016. Noting that the issue was “novel,” the trial court stayed its order until December 20, 2016, so the State could seek appellate intervention. The State's petition in this case followed three days later, seeking an emergency stay and asserted there would be “widespread confusion and continued litigation” if the trial court's order in this case stood. In addition, the petition introduced evidence that there were 57 other direct-file cases pending, and that 10 motions to transfer to juvenile court had already been received. The Court of Appeal denied the State's petition and published this opinion because "we recognize that trial courts may need guidance deciding whether and how to apply Proposition 57 to cases that were directly filed in adult court before its passage. We caution that we need not and therefore do not opine about anything other than the retroactivity of the portion of Proposition 57 that requires the juvenile court to permit trial of a minor in an adult criminal court. We do not address the equal protection argument real party in interest advanced in his informal response. In addition, although the People asked for advice about how courts should handle direct-filed cases that are transferred to juvenile court and then back to adult court after a successful motion under Welfare and Institutions Code section 707, subdivision (a), we do not purport to guide trial courts regarding other procedural aspects of cases against juveniles now that Proposition 57 has passed. Any such issues are best left for cases that squarely present them."