Wednesday, June 10, 2020

People v. Padilla (Cal. Ct. App. - June 10, 2020)

I mean, I get it (I guess).  Mr. Padilla was convicted of murder a long time ago -- in 1999.  But for various procedural reasons, his case repeatedly bounced up and down the Court of Appeal.  As a result, technically, it's not "final" yet.  For that reason, the Court of Appeal holds today that he's entitled to retroactive relief available under Proposition 57, passed in 2016, which makes it easier for juveniles to stay in juvenile court rather than being charged as adults.

But it's nonetheless weird -- very weird -- that Mr. Padilla now potentially gets to be tried in juvenile court, with remedies granted to juveniles, even though he's now nearly forty years old.  Who ever thought that a 38-year old would be in juvenile court?!  Probably not many of the people who passed (or voted for) Prop. 57 in 2016.

Yet, there you have it.

Now, as a practical reality, I doubt that Mr. Padilla is going to in fact end up there.  The Court of Appeal remands to ask the trial could whether it "would have" kept the case in juvenile court all the way back in 1999 had it operated under the new Prop. 57 standards.  Keep in mind that the trial court sentenced Mr. Padilla to life without the possibility of parole, and has imposed the same sentence for the past two decades every single time the Court of Appeal has remanded the thing back to it during that period.

My strong guess is that the trial court says:  "Nope.  Would have had him tried as an adult.  Even under the new rules."  Whether (1) because that's in fact the case, and/or (2) because the trial court is repulsed by the concept that a 38-year old Mr. Padilla might now be tried as a juvenile in juvenile court.

And my guess is also that, thereafter, the Court of Appeal will affirm.

But who knows.  Stay tuned.