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Nicole Clavo, the mother of JJ Clavo who was killed in 2016 on his way to his high school football game, has been speaking out against SB 1391 for months. So when Gov. Jerry Brown signed the bill into law, she continued to criticize it.
Brown signed SB 1391 on Sunday, a bill which would prevent prosecutors for trying defendants under the age of 16 as an adult. The law wouldn't go into effect until January 1, 2019.
Under the previous system, defendants under the age of 16 could be transferred to adult prisons if they were charged with more serious offenses, such as murder or rape.
“There is a fundamental principle at stake here: Whether we want a society, which at least attempts to reform the youngest offenders before consigning them to adult prisons, where their likelihood of becoming a lifelong criminal is so much higher,” Brown wrote.
"My son was murdered at 17. He didn't get to graduate. The accused has graduated. If he chooses, he can go to college," said Clavo. "He'll be able to rent or own his first home. These are things I will never see. [My son's accused killer] will be young enough to come home and live the life my son should be living."
Still, Clavo has sympathized with the family of Keymontae Lindsey, her son's alleged killer, since he was arrested in 2016.
"I pray for the accused as I pray for myself," said Clavo. "I don't wish him harm or ill will. I just think he should be held accountable for his actions — if he did it, if he's convicted of it."
Another concern Clavo said she has with SB 1391 is that adults will take advantage of it, coercing teenagers to commit crimes for them. She also feels the SB 1391 doesn't address the actual root of the problem.
"As a community, as a culture, as a city, we're always looking at the effect," said Clavo. "We need to start holding one another accountable for what our youth are doing. We have to look at the root cause and start working on that end and ont the effect of what's happening."
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