Katie's Blog

Thursday, November 14, 2019

SB-190: California Counties Fail to Comply

On numerous occasions, we have covered Senate Bill 190: Ending Juvenile Administrative Fees (SB-190), a piece of legislation that abolished entire categories of monetary sanctions in the juvenile legal system and a subset of fees for young people in the adult legal system. Signed into law by former Governor Jerry Brown in 2017, the landmark law went into effect on January 1, 2018.

SB-190 has several facets that are meant to take some of the financial burden off young people who are in legal trouble and their families. The bipartisan legislation prohibits California counties from charging fees to parents and guardians for their child’s:
  • Detention
  • Representation by Counsel
  • Electronic Monitoring
  • Probation Supervision
  • Drug Testing
The bill also removed each county’s authority to charge young people, ages 18–21, in the adult system for home detention, electronic monitoring, and drug testing. Senators Holly J. Mitchell and Ricardo Lara wrote SB 190 to:

“eliminate a source of financial harm to some of the state’s most vulnerable families, support the reentry of youth back into their homes and communities, and reduce the likelihood that youth will recidivate.”

Failure to Comply with SB-190


The Berkeley Law Policy Advocacy Clinic conducted a study on behalf of the Western Center on Law & Poverty to give a status report on the implementation of SB-190, according to The Crime Report. Study co-authors Stephanie Campos-Bui and Jess Bartholow identified 22 counties in violation of law by continuing to charge fees, demand past fees, and bill families through the child support system.

While the revelation is concerning, the status report did have some positive findings. SB-190 did not waive previously assessed fees; however, the authors write that “36 counties voluntarily discharged or stopped collecting them, relieving hundreds of thousands of families of more than $237 million.” 

The report indicates that the bill provided California families with hundreds of millions of dollars in relief. Before SB-190 went into effect, “families with youth in the juvenile legal system had more than $374 million in outstanding fee assessments.”

Researchers identified the worst offenders still pursuing legal fees from families with youths in the juvenile legal system. The five counties failing to comply the most are:
  • San Diego
  • Orange
  • Riverside
  • Tulare
  • Stanislaus
The study authors recommend that counties stop assessing all SB 190-prohibited fees through child support orders and to young people ages 18–21 in criminal court; counties should voluntarily stop collecting and discharge all previously assessed SB; counties should notify young people and families of all SB 190 fee relief and update all SB 190-related internal- and external-facing fee materials.

On the state level, The Berkeley Law Policy Advocacy Clinic recommends that the California Department of Social Services require local child support agencies to comply with SB 190. They add that the California Legislature and Governor should enact new legislation that waives all previously assessed fees.

California Juvenile Law Attorney


Attorney Katie Walsh has extensive experience in the juvenile legal system and previously worked as a prosecutor; she is in a unique position to advocate for your family and help your child achieve the best possible outcome in his or her case. Please contact The Law Offices of Katie Walsh today for a free consultation.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

SB 328: School Start Time and Suspension

SB 328
Keeping kids in the classroom is key to ensuring that students perform well academically. Students who act out in class risk suspension or worse, expulsion. Young people can have behavioral problems in school for a myriad of reasons, issues at home or mental health conditions are two of the more common causes. However, there is some evidence suggesting that sleep deprivation could be playing a role in teenage behavior.

Researchers Kevin Bastian and Sarah Fuller of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill analyzed data from more than 400 North Carolina high schools, according to Education Dive. They determined that students who start classes later in the morning were less likely to be suspended. Starting class at 8:30 a.m. or later was also linked to higher overall GPAs among students.

The findings noted above are interesting and have given several lawmakers across the country food for thought, especially in California. In recent years, there have been several attempts to push back school start times to allow young people more sleep.

Even though there is a growing body of evidence showing the benefits of such a move, former Gov. Jerry Brown vetoed a bill that would have had middle and high schoolers start class at 8:30 a.m. However, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has a decidedly different stance on the subject.

SB 328 Pupil Attendance: School Start Time


This month, Gov. Newsom signed Senate Bill 328 into law, making it so that most middle schools and high schools will start class later, The Los Angeles Times reports. The change will be phased in and should be fully implemented by the beginning of the 2022-23 school year.

SB 328 is controversial; many school officials and some lawmakers oppose the move to start class later, according to the article. Concerns have been raised that the change could affect bus routes and prevent parents from dropping their kids off at school before work. The California Teachers Association called Newsom’s signing of the bill “unfortunate.”

Gov. Newsom defended his support for the bill by pointing to the available science. Studies correlate more sleep from later start times with better academic performance and better health. For those reasons, SB 328 has the support of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the California Medical Association, and the California State Parent Teacher Association.

An impetus for the bill was a 2014 opinion from the American Academy of Pediatrics stating that middle and high schools shouldn’t begin class until 8:30 a.m. California is the first state in the nation to pass legislation mandating later start times

“Today, Gov. Newsom displayed a heartwarming and discerning understanding of the importance of objective research and exercised strong leadership as he put our children’s health and welfare ahead of institutional bureaucracy resistant to change,” said Sen. Anthony Portantino, who authored the legislation. “Generations of children will come to appreciate this historic day and our governor for taking bold action. Our children face a public health crisis. Shifting to a later start time will improve academic performance and save lives because it helps our children be healthier.” Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.


California School Expulsion Attorney


If your son or daughter is having difficulty in school and is facing school expulsion, then you must seek the assistance of an experienced juvenile defense lawyer. At the Law Offices of Katie Walsh, we can advocate for your family and safeguard your child’s rights.

Attorney Walsh can help you navigate the school expulsion hearing process and may be able to negotiate alternatives to expulsion. Please contact our office today for a free consultation.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Assembly Bill 1076: Expungement of a Conviction

Ab 1076
At the Law Offices of Katie Walsh, we help our clients clean up their criminal records. Each case is unique, but it is often possible to have an expungement of a conviction after successfully finishing probation. In some cases, an expunged conviction allows people to honestly answer "no" to questions on applications that deal with their criminal history.

Historically, Californians would require the assistance of an attorney to request that their conviction be expunged. Said lawyer would petition the courts to that end and hopefully achieve a favorable outcome.

It's worth noting that not all convictions are eligible to have their criminal records cleaned up. For instance, people convicted of sex crimes are exempt. However, those found guilty low-level offenses have an excellent opportunity at petitioning the courts for an expungement of a conviction. It's a process; but, it's worth it when you consider how a criminal record can affect employment and housing prospects. 

The process of expungement will undergo some changes soon, thanks to a new law signed by Governor Gavin Newsom earlier this month.

Assembly Bill 1076 Criminal Records: Automatic Relief


Reforming California's criminal justice system is a chief priority among lawmakers. In recent years, many laws have been passed to end draconian policies; we've written about several reforms on this blog.

In May, we discussed a piece of legislation that would make getting one's conviction expunged less challenging. Assembly Bill 1076 Criminal Records: Automatic Relief by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) was signed by Governor Newsom on October 8, 2019, according to Mojave Desert News. AB 1076 was one of 25 bills meant to reform the criminal justice system.

The passing of AB 1076 creates an automated record clearance system for qualifying low-level offenses, according to the article. Those who qualify will be able to seal their records without having first to petition the court. The automated record clearance system will apply to individuals ​arrested or convicted after January 1, 2021. People with any pending criminal charges will be excluded from the new policy.

"People shouldn't have to pay for their mistakes for the rest of their lives. A fresh start improves an individual's chances of succeeding and reduces the likelihood of recidivism. Automating the record clearance process will enable former offenders to get back on their feet and lead productive lives," said Assemblymember Ting. "Our economy and society pay the price when job-seeking workers are shut out."

Cleaning Up Your Criminal Record


It will be a while before the automated system is up running; in the meantime, please contact The Law Offices of Katie Walsh if you would like to clean up your criminal record. Attorney Walsh can help you petition the court for an expungement of a conviction or a certificate of rehabilitation.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Juvenile Sentencing Law Changing Lives

SB-1391
Senate Bill 1391 is in the news once again, which probably won't come as a surprise to our readers. The law raised the age that juvenile offenders can be tried as adults from 14 to 16. We've been covering this legislation since last year, when former Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1391 into law.

The bill may not mean much to most Californians, but to young offenders and their families it is monumental. As we've written previously, several counties have challenged the enactment of the new law. Opponents argue that it undermines Proposition 57. Approved in 2016, Prop 57 gave judges the power to decide whether juveniles as young as 14 should be tried as adults, instead of prosecutors. 

This summer, the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco rejected Solano County's challenge to SB 1391. The final resolution will likely come about in the California Supreme Court in the near future. In the meantime, the law is still in play. Meaning, some young offenders are now looking at far lighter sentences than they would have last year.

From 65 Years to Six


Last year, two teenagers ages 14 and 15 were both looking at a 65-years-to-life sentence for an armed robbery. Thanks to SB 1391, Elijah Hall and Anthony Torres, then ages 14 and 15, are looking at six years, being eligible for parole at age 25, according to The Desert Sun. They were arrested in 2015 and sentenced to life for a spree of armed robberies.

They are both adults now and are serving their respective sentences, but the new juvenile sentencing law could mean that they will regain freedom much sooner.

One primary opponent of the SB 1391 is the judge who ruled on September 9th that the two men would be resentenced in juvenile court. Riverside County Superior Court Judge Russell Moore included an argument in his ruling that says the new law is unconstitutional, the article reports. He contends that lawmakers did not fully appreciate the impact of the new juvenile justice law and that it undermines the will of voters who approved Prop 57. Moore writes, "the Legislature unconstitutionally pulled the rug out from the voters."

"SB 1391 now means that juveniles 16 and older can conceivably be prosecuted in adult court for felony joyriding," he wrote in the ruling, "while those under 16 may not be prosecuted in adult court for rape, robbery, kidnapping, and murder." 

Two weeks ago, at the Indio Juvenile Courthouse, Judge Elizabeth Tucker ruled Hall and Torres will be resentenced to time in California's Division of Juvenile Justice rather than the state's prison system, according to the article. Her decision is per the new juvenile sentencing law.

Time will tell how the Supreme Court decides on this controversial bill. Inmates like Tucker and Hall may not walk out of the woods yet. We will continue to follow this remarkable story as it develops.

Orange County Juvenile Justice Attorney


If your son or daughter is facing criminal charges or school expulsion, then please contact The Law Offices of Katie Walsh. With experience as a prosecutor and defense lawyer, attorney Walsh has a unique understanding of the juvenile justice system. She has the experience and know-how to advocate for your family successfully. We invite you to reach out today for a free consultation. (714) 619-9355

Monday, September 23, 2019

Child Abuse: A Pathway to the Juvenile Justice System

juvenile justice
Abuse or adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) can significantly alter the course of a child's life and lead to severe problems. Trauma of any kind can leave an indelible mark on a person's psyche. With treatment and support for social services, children may adopt unhealthy behaviors due to a shortage of coping mechanisms.

Many adults who struggle with drugs and alcohol or have run-ins with the law have a history of trauma stemming from physical and sexual abuse. In an attempt to escape one's symptoms, turning to mind-altering substances appears to be a logical choice. Illicit drug use can lead to legal problems for young people. Some will even commit burglaries or theft in order to afford their drugs, which can be another path to the juvenile or criminal justice system.

What's more, young people who suffer at the hands of abusive parents can find their way into legal troubles in some unexpected ways. Running away from home to escape violence can precipitate arrests, as can fighting back against one's abuser.

Child Abuse Leads to Incarceration


Experiencing abuse in the home appears to be a common precursor to involvement with the justice system. Janelle Hawes, Ph.D. and Jerry Flores, Ph.D. conducted interviews with 33 girls at a juvenile detention center in southern California that supports the above statement, according to the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange. They found that abuse played a role in these young girls’ first involvement with the juvenile justice system.

The researchers discovered that parents or guardians abused 14 of the girls, the article reports. Some of the girls stated that fighting back against their oppressors resulted in arrests and detention. Others were arrested for running away from home to escape further abuse. Another path to the juvenile justice system was reporting their abuse to institutional actors like police and social workers. Below you will find a few examples of these types of instances:

"I love my mom, my mom used to beat the f-lip out of me, like crap out of me and one day I pulled a knife on her and I told her to stop and they put me in a damn mental institution," said Debby, 14. 

Aracely, 19, first got involved in the juvenile justice system after reporting her abuse to a criminal justice officer at school, according to the article. The officer took her to talk to the father (her abuser) and then decided that Aracely actions were tantamount to running away and arrested her. She said: 

"… I had went to school, 'cause um, I was scared of going back home. I didn't wanna go back home with my dad [because of abuse] … I was like, oh I don't wanna go with my dad, like, I don't really wanna go with him and then they're like 'we're gonna talk to your dad' and they came back, they came back into the room and they told me to get up and put my hands behind my back and that's when I got arrested."

Annabelle, 17, had a similar experience to Arcely. Escaping the abuse meant running away which lead to arrests. "Me and my father have never been close. Um, and I would always — I felt left out so I'd always go out there on the streets. I would run away a lot and then my father would kick me out. He would call the cops and say that I ran away and I started getting in trouble with the cops."

Once a young person gets into the criminal or juvenile justice systems, they are far more likely to have run-ins with the police in the future. Research shows that young people need resources, support, and therapy, not juvenile detention. Running away from abuse should not be a crime or the impetus for juvenile detention.

California Juvenile Justice Attorney


Please contact The Law Offices of Katie Walsh for a free, confidential consultation. We can help you determine if we can assist you with your son's or daughter's legal or school troubles. As a former prosecutor, attorney Walsh is uniquely equipped to advocate for the needs of your family and help obtain the best possible outcome in your child's case. (714) 619-9355.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Juvenile Delinquency Rates in America

Juvenile Delinquency
Coming into contact with the juvenile justice system can have a lasting impact on a person's life. Once arrested and placed into a detention center, the likelihood of it occurring again exponentially increases. In most cases, young people who get into trouble with the law are better served by alternatives to incarceration.

Reducing recidivism among young Americans must be a chief priority in the U.S. Our adult prisons are overcrowded thanks to the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of nonviolent offenders. Mandatory minimum sentencing laws have not helped either; although efforts have been made to roll back draconian sentencing laws in recent years.

Many people currently serving time in adult jails and prisons had interactions with the juvenile justice system. It stands to reason that doing a better job rehabilitating young people could prevent scenarios like that from happening.

The Children's Defense Fund (CDF) is an organization dedicated to rehabilitating youths and prevent recidivism. The organization writes:

"We work to ensure more humane and rehabilitative prevention and treatment for all children who come in contact with the juvenile justice system, especially children of color who historically have been disproportionately impacted." 

To stop the criminalization of children and ensure justice for all youth, the CDF calls for: more federal resources for youth justice reform, closing youth prisons and investing in restorative, community-based solutions, and putting an end to solitary confinement for children.

New Report on Juvenile Delinquency Rates


Researchers at Frontpoint Security analyzed data from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention to find the number of arrests made per 100,000 young people between the ages of 10 and 17, Patch reports. They sought to determine which states had the highest and lowest youth delinquency rates. For instance, California ranked 37th overall.

The research only looked at two types of crime: juvenile larceny (stealing without threatening anyone) and juvenile robbery (stealing by force or threat). In 2017, there were 73 juvenile robbery arrests and 264 juvenile larceny arrests in California, according to the article. Over 300 arrests may seem like a lot until you look at Maryland and Louisiana.

Maryland had 205 juvenile robbery arrests in 2017, the highest rate in the country. The data indicate that Louisiana topped the chart for juvenile larceny arrests with 1,173. Maryland came in first for the highest juvenile theft rates, and Louisiana came in second. West Virginia had the lowest teenage arrest rate.

Fortunately, there is evidence that juvenile delinquency is on the decline. Organizations like the CDF are helping to make even more significant reductions a reality. Frontpoint Security writes:

"... there's hope for children and teens who have committed crimes—rehab programs that take a therapeutic approach can help them reverse course, and juvenile justice advocates work hard to give them a second chance."

Orange County Juvenile Defense Attorney


If your son or daughter has been arrested for larceny or robbery, then please contact The Law Offices of Katie Walsh. Attorney Walsh is a former prosecutor which means she has a unique understanding of both sides of the courtroom. She can help your family find a favorable outcome to this unfortunate situation.

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Senate Bill 419 Signed Into Law

SB 419
While it might be hard for some people to fathom elementary school students being suspended for not cooperating in class, it’s a common occurrence in California. Each year, thousands of kids are removed from the classroom for what is known as disruption and willful defiance. We have written about this subject on numerous occasions.

On this blog, we have also covered some of the potential consequences of class removals at a young age. Whenever a student isn’t in class, they are at significant risk of getting into more trouble. The school-to-prison pipeline starts with suspension and expulsion.

In recent years, several lawmakers have worked tirelessly to enact laws that would protect young and vulnerable students. Statistics show that minorities and youths with disabilities are suspended and expelled at far higher rates than their white peers.

The ultimate goal is to ban school suspensions for “defiant and disruptive behavior” in grades K-12. However, the effort has been met with significant pushback, forcing lawmakers to amend their legislative proposals to cater to the wishes of the opposition.

One bill that we have discussed frequently is Senate Bill 419. It is already against the law to suspend K-3 students for defiant and disruptive behavior; SB 419 would expand on that to include grades 4 through 8.

Governor Newsom Signs Senate Bill 419


On Monday, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Senate Bill 419, The Sacramento Bee reports. Effective July 1, 2020, SB 419 ends the practice of willful defiance suspensions in grades four and five. The same is true in grades six through eight but only for a five-year provisional period.

The author of the bill, Sen. Nancy Skinner, D-Berkeley, said that SB 419 would “keep kids in school where they belong and where teachers and counselors can help them thrive.” She added that the bill “may be one of the best ways to disrupt the school-to-prison pipeline.”

Naturally, the signing of SB 419 was lauded by civil rights activists, including Dolores Huerta. The labor leader, civil rights activist, and awardee of the United States Presidential Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights and the Presidential Medal of Freedom said:

“I strongly believe that SB 419 will bring justice to California youth by eliminating suspensions for disruption and defiance, putting an end to discriminatory discipline policies and instituting restorative justice practices.” 

Please take a moment to watch a short video on the subject:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

California School Discipline Attorney


Please reach out to The Law Offices of Katie Walsh for a free consultation if your child is facing expulsion from school. Attorney Walsh has extensive experience in these matters and can negotiate with your child’s school district. Mrs. Walsh can also represent your family at the school expulsion hearing. She will advocate for your child and fight for alternatives to expulsion.