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Name: People v. Arroyo
Case #: G048659
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 04/28/2014
Subsequent History: Review granted 7/23/14: S219178

Prosecution of 14-year-old defendant in adult court may proceed via grand jury indictment. The Orange County Grand Jury issued an indictment that charged Arroyo and others with conspiracy to commit murder for the benefit of a gang and other offenses. (Pen. Code, §§ 187/182/186.22, subds. (a) & (b).) The indictment included a finding Arroyo was 14 years of age or older and the conspiracy offense came within Welfare and Institutions Code section 707, subdivision (d)(2). Arroyo demurred to the indictment, claiming section 707, subdivision (d) requires prosecution to proceed via preliminary hearing and information. The demurrer was sustained and the prosecution appealed. Held: Reversed. Proposition 21 expanded the number of circumstances in which the prosecution may file criminal charges against minors without first having a fitness hearing in juvenile court. Included are offenses a 14-year-old minor is alleged to have committed which, if committed by an adult, would result in a sentence of death or life in state prison. This includes conspiracy to commit murder. Section 707, subdivision (d)(4) states that when the prosecution has filed an accusatory pleading against a minor in adult criminal court, the case should proceed according to the law governing criminal cases. Accusatory pleading includes an indictment (Pen. Code, § 691, subd. (c)), which is drafted by and contains the allegations of the prosecutor. The second and third sentences of subdivision (d)(4) do not expressly bar commencing a criminal action by indictment or mandate a preliminary hearing (disagreeing with People v. Superior Court (Gevorgyan) (2001) 91 Cal.App.4th 602 [statutory language of section 707, subdivision (d) impliedly bars prosecution against otherwise eligible juvenile by grand jury indictment]).