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A Jurisdictional Analysis of Franklin Proceedings: A Preliminary Study
AdvisorLeone, Matthew C.
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A recent trilogy of United States Supreme Court cases held that sentencing juveniles to life in prison violates the Eighth Amendment in all but the most extreme cases. California responded to this line of cases with the passage of Senate Bill 260 and Penal Code § 4801(c). Senate Bill 260 and Penal Code § 4801(c) mandate that the youthful offender parole board “give great weight to the diminished culpability of youth as compared to adults.” Senate Bill 260 also requires that the parole board meet with juvenile offenders before their parole eligibility date and offer individualized recommendations to promote rehabilitation. In 2016, the California Supreme Court directed trial courts to start conducting Franklin Hearings for the purpose of allowing sentenced youthful offenders to make a record of youth-related factors relevant to their eventual parole determination. This preliminary study looks at how different jurisdictions in California are responding to People v. Franklin. This paper examines whether there are procedural differences between urban versus rural jurisdictions and public defenders versus independent contractors in how Franklin Hearings are conducted. This preliminary study concludes by proposing additional research into the Franklin Hearing process and whether it is allowing youthful offenders to present an accurate and complete record of youth related mitigation.