Sen. Shiozawa is carrying S.B. 228 Penalties for Specified Juvenile Offenses, which provides that if the defendant is younger than 18 and commits an aggravated murder, that the punishment of the death penalty is not an option. S.B. 228 also codifies that for minors who commit a felony which would normally qualify them for consideration of life in prison without the possibility of parole, that this does not apply if they were under the age of 18 when the offense occurred. This bill put Utah Code in line with the recent Supreme Court decision Miller v Alabama which declared that, “The Eighth Amendment forbids a sentencing scheme which mandates life in prison without parole for juvenile homicide offenders. The Eighth Amendment’s prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment ‘guarentees individuals the right not to be subjected to excessive sanctions.'” S.B. 228 has passed unanimously through the Senate . . .
The Department of Children and Families had to seek an Appellate Court order against Superior Court Judge E. Curtissa Cofield, who has a history of discipline, compelling her to make decisions in four cases involving the 10 children who are in temporary foster care.
Each of the cases concluded at least 11 months ago, and Cofield in each instance failed to render a ruling within the required 120 days, according to a motion filed with the Appellate Court by DCF Commissioner Joette Katz. Cofield has been a juvenile court judge since being transferred from adult criminal court in 2009 after serving an eight-month suspension. In juvenile court, proceedings are confidential and closed to the public.