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Youth Offender Laws Impacting Minors Tried As Adults In California

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Senate Bill 1391 is not the only law impacting minors who are tried as adults.

We reviewed at least half a dozen recent youth offender laws ranging from mandatory parole hearings for teens tried as adults, even if they have a life sentence, to a mandatory juvenile hearing before a minor can be tried as an adult to begin with.

When David Marsh was 15, he was tried and convicted as an adult in the brutal stabbing death of an elderly Davis couple. But when Prop 57 passed, requiring a juvenile hearing before someone can be tried as an adult, Marsh returned to a Yolo County court last year to determine if he should be re-tried as a minor.

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The judge, in that case, upheld his original adult sentence. According to the Human Rights Watch, there are at least 1,500 kids, ages 15 and under, who have faced adult court sentencing in California.

Also, an estimated 1,000 have been or will be, eligible for parole after serving just 15-25 years of a life sentence. At least 235 of those convicted were sentenced to life without parole, but will now be eligible anyway.

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The Department of Corrections said so far, 16 of those inmates have had early parole hearings, but only one has been released.

It's also important to note, most of these laws are based on a state supreme court decision. There was a concern life in prison for these kids could be considered cruel and unusual punishment.

The laws were introduced to comply with the decision.

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