SANTA CRUZ (CBS SF) — The Santa Cruz County Public Defender’s Office says a judge got it wrong when he decided to continue to prosecute accused killer Adrian Gonzalez as an adult in apparent defiance of California’s new juvenile justice reform law, SB 1391.
“No one is capable of looking at one crime by one 14 or 15-year-old kid and then say that this person is irredeemably corrupt, ” said Deputy Public Defender Ted Fairbanks.
Fairbanks represents Gonzalez who is accused of sexually assaulting and killing Madyson “Maddy” Middleton on July 26, 2015 at the Tannery Arts Center’s housing complex when he was 15.
Judge John Salazar wrote in his decision that, “What renders SB 1391 unconstitutional is that it goes too far. The voting public never agreed to allow extremely violent and dangerous individuals to be returned to the general public without first being rehabilitated.”
Fairbanks says he plans to appeal the judge’s ruling.
Outside court Thursday, the judge’s decision was praised both by the District Attorney’s Office and Maddy’s parents.
“There is no justice for Maddy right now. But we won this round which is fantastic,” said Maddy’s mother Laura Jordan.
District Attorney Jeff Rosell says California voter approved Prop. 57 which gave discretion to juvenile court judges to determine if 14 or 15-year-olds should be tried as adults.
Rosell argued that lawmakers overruled voters by amending the law and mandating that young offenders be tried in the juvenile justice system.