In 2011, Juvenile 1 (J1) and two of his friends entered a department store.
He put on a pair of pants in a dressing room, and left the store alone
without paying for them. He saw his friends fighting with the store’s
security guard and joined in. He kicked the guard in the head. He was
later convicted of felony grand theft person, under California’s
Penal Code Section 487, he was ordered to submit fingerprints and DNA
samples to the California Department of Justice. J1 submitted the samples
In 2013, Juvenile 2 (J2) entered an unoccupied house and took a cell phone,
a video game system, and some jewelry. However, the homeowner returned
while J2 was still there. To help him escape J2 Brandished a knife at
the homeowner. He was unsuccessful and was arrested by the police. At
his trial, the court sustained a wardship petition based on misdemeanor
residential burglary and felony grand theft person. He, too, was ordered
to submit fingerprints and DNA samples.
In 2014, the voters of the State of California approved Proposition 47.
This measure recategorized some nonviolent offenses as misdemeanors, rather
than as felonies – as they had been previously categorized.
In 2015 both J1 and J2 petitioned the courts to have their convictions
recategorized as misdemeanors, their fines reduced and their DNA samples
and profiles be expunged (removed and destroyed) from the state’s
databank. Both courts granted their requests to reduce their convictions
to misdemeanors, but both courts also refused to have their requests for
Both J1 and J2 appealed their decisions in two different appellate courts.
Both appellate courts agreed with the trial courts.
Again, J1 and J2 appealed their decisions to the California State Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court noted that for many decades California law has demanded
that certain convicted felons must provide DNA samples, et cetera upon
their convictions. In 2004, the law was amended to include juvenile offenders.
The Court then went on to uphold both Appellate Courts stating:
“After the courts’ re-designation orders, [J1 and J2] no longer
stand adjudicated of felonies. But they cannot meet the additional expungement
requirements of [the statute]: lack of charges, acquittal, appellate reversal,
or a finding of factual innocence. On the face of the statute, eligibility
for expungement is confined to these circumstances. Nothing in [the statute]
authorizes expungement on the ground that conduct previously deemed a felony
is now punished only as a misdemeanor.”