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Late last week, California’s 4th District Court of Appeal ruled that Proposition 47 – the voter-approved measure that reclassifies certain petty crimes from felonies to misdemeanors – applies to minors in the same way it does to adults. It has been found in the past that Prop. 47 caused a noticeable drop in California’s incarceration rate. In light of this ruling, juvenile defendants charged with particular crimes previously classified as felonies should now only face misdemeanor charges, and some juvenile offenders may be able to have their prior felony convictions retroactively changed to misdemeanor convictions.

Background on Proposition 47

Proposition 47, the “Reduced Penalties for Some Crimes Initiative,” was approved by California voters last November. Unless a defendant has prior convictions for particular violent or gun-related crimes, Proposition 47 mandates that he or she be sentenced to a misdemeanor instead of a felony for the following seven petty crimes:

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