California v. Superior Court (K.L.)Annotate this Case
This case presented a narrow question of whether Senate Bill No. 1391 (Stats. 2018, ch. 1012, section 1) (S.B. 1391) was void as an unconstitutional amendment to Welfare and Institutions Code section 707 as modified by the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 (Proposition 57). The State filed two petitions for a writ of mandate seeking relief from separate orders by respondent Superior Court of Sacramento County, which refused to transfer real parties in interest R.Z. and K.L. from juvenile to criminal court for purposes of criminal prosecution based on section 707 as modified by legislative enactment of S.B. 1391. The State charged K.L., 15 at the time of the alleged conduct, with felony murder, attempted murder and shooting into an occupied vehicle, with additional allegations K.L. personally discharged a firearm causing death or great bodily injury, all in association with involvement with a street gang. R.Z. was also 15 at the time of the alleged conduct, arraigned on a juvenile petition because he committed murder and personally discharged a firearm causing great bodily injury or death in the commission of the homicide. The trial court found R.Z. unfit for juvenile court and granted the State's motion transferring R.Z. to criminal court. However, the trial court stayed execution of that order until January 2019 so that it could determine the effect of S.B. 1391 on its order transferring the minor. Over the State's opposition, on January 10, 2019, the trial court dismissed the motion to transfer R.Z. to criminal court, vacated its prior order transferring the minor, and sent the matter to juvenile court. The State argued S.B. 1391’s bar on the transfer of minors under the age of 16 for criminal prosecution as adults was unconstitutional because it did not further the intent and purpose of Proposition 57. The Court of Appeal disagreed and denied the State's petitions for mandamus relief.