Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In Re James C. (Cal. Ct. App. - Aug. 11, 2008)

Some good news, some bad news.

Bad news first. Judge Francis Devaney -- down here in San Diego -- apparently has been applying a "consistent" policy in which he sentences juveniles in border cases to a year at Camp Barrett (a junvenile facility in Alpine) but suspending this sentence on the condition that the juvenile, as part of his probation, be banished from the United States. Even if they're a citizen.

Uh, I've got news for you, Judge Devaney. Your policy in this regard couldn't be more unconstitutional. As well as, quite frankly, offensive. We don't banish U.S. citizens. We just don't.

The good news. First, Justice Huffman (and the rest of the panel) knows this, and in a fairly brief opinion, says so. Second, that Attorney General's Office knows this as well. And while the AG's Office is willing to argue on appeal that in this particular case the defendant waived this issue (though he didn't), it also has the foresight and integrity to concede that what Judge Devaney has been doing is wrong. Which I like. Especially since the three most responsible attorneys in this regard -- Assistant AG Gary Schons and Deputy AGs Scott Taylor and
Marissa Bejarano -- are all USD Law graduates.

I like it when our alums do the right thing. Especially when other people -- including people in positions of power -- are doing the wrong thing.