YUBA COUNTY (CBS13) — A Yuba County Judge sentenced Trew Smith, 18, to 20 years in state prison for attempting to rob and murder a local corn vendor on Monday and tried a minor as an adult, Jamarea Markham-Love, sentencing him to two years in prison, said the Yuba County District Attorney's Office.
The corn on the cob vendor, Alberto G., was selling from his street stand when he was approached by Trew Smith and the 16-year-old Jamarea Markham-Love. When Alberto realized he was being robbed, he resisted. At this point, Trew Smith shot him in the chest with a 9mm semiautomatic pistol.
Although Alberto G. survived, he still suffers pain and other complications from the damage to his lungs.
According to the Yuba County District Attorney's Office, Markham-Love was tried as an adult despite the fact that he was only 16 because of his past record and offenses.
"This case represents a number of hot button issues in criminal justice," wrote the Yuba County District Attorney's Office.
"Should a minor ever be tried as an adult? A district attorney in California used to have complete discretion to file serious cases in adult court against minors 14 or older. That changed in 2016 with the passage of Proposition 57, which gave judges the sole authority to decide whether a minor should be tried in adult criminal court. The judge considers the degree of criminal sophistication; whether the minor can be rehabilitated before the minor ages out of the juvenile system; the minor's previous history of criminal behavior; the degree of success by previous attempts to rehabilitate the minor; and the circumstances and gravity of the offense allegedly committed by the minor."
Another question that this case brought up is whether or not minors should be able to be questioned after being arrested for a serious offense.
"The California legislature in 2020 made it illegal for police to question a minor in custody unless the minor first consults with a defense attorney. This effectively means that arrested minors will no longer admit their guilt to the police. Had the robbery in this case taken place in 2021, the police would not have been permitted to interview Markham-Love, and Alberto G. may never have seen justice. Advocates for minors think this is a great change, protecting vulnerable kids from coercive police interrogation. Prosecutors like myself believe this went too far because it ignores the interests of crime victims and the community in seeing crimes solved and lawbreakers held to account, wrote the Yuba County District Attorney's Office.
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