When the Supreme Court last month granted review in five different cases concerning the validity of Senate Bill 1391, which essentially prevents prosecution in adult criminal court for a crime committed by anyone under 16 years old, we wondered whether they would all remain as straight grants or whether the court would make some of them grant-and-holds.

It’s the latter.  On Wednesday, the court made O.G. v. Superior Court the lead case and turned People v. Superior Court (T.D.), People v. Superior Court (I.R.), People v. Superior Court (S.L.), and People v. Superior Court (G.G.) into grant-and-holds.

O.G. is the only one of the batch in which the Court of Appeal concluded that SB 1391 impermissibly amended a 2016 initiative, Proposition 57.  The Second District, Division Six held, “Senate Bill No. 1391 is unconstitutional insofar as it precludes the possibility of adult prosecution of an alleged 15-year-old murderer.”  The other four found the statute to be a valid exercise of the Legislature’s powers.

There are two other published appellate opinions upholding SB 1391 in which the Supreme Court denied review before O.G. was decided:  People v. Superior Court (Alexander C.) (2019) 34 Cal.App.5th 994 and People v. Superior Court (K.L.) (2019) 36 Cal.App.5th 529.  (See here.)  Because O.G. stands alone in invalidating SB 1391, fundamental principles of stare decisis (Auto Equity Sales, Inc. v. Superior Court (1962) 57 Cal.2d 450, 455) and the 2016 rules change about the precedential effect of review-granted opinions appear to require all superior courts in California at this time to follow Alexander C. and K.L. and enforce SB 1391.  A superior court could ignore those principles and rules, however, like the O.G. superior court did when it disregarded binding precedent and ruled that SB 1391 is invalid.