Juvenile court’s failure to articulate its evaluative process by detailing how it weighed the evidence, and to identify the specific facts that persuaded it to transfer the minor’s case to criminal court, requires remand for further hearing. C.S. was 15 years old when he participated in a gang assault in which a minor was killed. As permitted in 2012 (former Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 602, 707), the prosecution charged C.S. in adult criminal court with murder and other offenses. A jury found all charges true. Prior to C.S.’s sentencing, Proposition 57 passed. In part, Proposition 57 ended the practice of charging juveniles with crimes in adult criminal court, instead requiring a transfer hearing if a prosecutor wishes to try an accused minor as an adult. C.S.’s case was sent to juvenile court where a retrospective transfer hearing was held. The juvenile court ordered his case transferred to criminal court. C.S. sought a writ of mandate. Held: Peremptory writ of mandate issued. In deciding whether a case should be transferred to criminal court the juvenile court must consider: (1) the minor’s degree of criminal sophistication, (2) whether the minor can be rehabilitated while the juvenile court has jurisdiction, (3) the minor’s delinquent history, (4) the results of previous attempts to rehabilitate the minor, and (5) the gravity of the offense (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 707, subd. (a)(2)). The juvenile court must recite the basis for its decision in a minute order, but the statute does not require it to set forth how it weighed the criteria. However, principles of due process require the bases for the order to be sufficiently specific to permit meaningful review. Here, the juvenile court considered the statutory criteria, but did not say which of the factors weighed in favor of transfer, against transfer, or were neutral. This did not allow for meaningful review. Since the evidence supporting the court’s transfer order was not overwhelming, remand was required.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/archive/H045665.PDF