Sacramento Bee Article re L.H. v. Schwarzenegger

October 9, 2008

Judge Orders Reforms for California Juvenile Parole Revocation

By Denny Walsh  |  Sacramento Bee  —

A Sacramento federal judge has ordered sweeping reforms to the parole revocation system for California juveniles, including an accelerated schedule of hearings to quickly determine whether revocation is merited.

U.S. District Judge Lawrence K. Karlton earlier ruled the failure of state authorities to hold probable cause hearings and appoint counsel for juvenile parolees violated the Constitution and two landmark U.S. Supreme Court decisions.

He issued a statewide permanent injunction Tuesday ordering state officials to:

• Notify a juvenile parolee of the charges within three days of placing a hold on the parolee. A hold is akin to an arrest warrant.

• Make sure a juvenile parolee has an attorney throughout the revocation process.

• Provide a hearing within eight business days after notification of the charges if a defense lawyer has made a good argument there is no basis to hold the parolee. Otherwise, provide a hearing within 13 days of the hold to find out if there is probable cause to detain the parolee.

• Convene a final revocation hearing on or before the 35th calendar day after placement of the hold.

• Set up “a clearer, prompt appeal system,” with appeals of revocation to be decided within 10 business days.

Under the injunction’s terms, those and other changes in juvenile parole revocations must be implemented by Dec. 15.

The class-action lawsuit was filed more than two years ago challenging the way California treats juveniles arrested on alleged parole violations.

The multifaceted injunction’s provisions were earlier agreed to by attorneys for juvenile parolees, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, and state officials in charge of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice, Board of Parole Hearings, and Juvenile Parole Board.