Clavo Family’s Fight to Have Young Suspect Tried As Adult Gets Chance at Appeal

NORTH HIGHLANDS -- Trying to find justice for a young life lost - that of her son JJ -  Nicole Clavo finally sees a little hope in her fight to have another life, that of a young suspect, regarded as an adult.

"It renewed my faith... you know my faith has constantly been tested through the last three years.  So I just stay faithful and yeah... it was a good decision," she said.

She's talking about a late Thursday decision by the Third District Court of Appeals to grant her request for an appeal.

It's a case that if won, would allow her son's accused killer - Keymontae Lindsey - to be tried as an adult.

Based on steps initially taken by Sacramento County prosecutor, that was a forgone conclusion.

But, last October former Governor Jerry Brown signed SB-1391 into law -  a measure preventing 14 and 15-year-olds from being treated as adults by the courts despite the heinous nature of their charges.

Lindsey was 15 when he was arrested for shooting into a car JJ was sitting in with fellow Grant High football players before a game.

"He was robbed of the best years of his life," Nicole Clavo said.

Senate Bill 1391, which took effect January first, also caps the length of potential detention for these young offenders at age 25 even if they're convicted on multiple counts.

Lindsey's accused of wounding another player in the incident that killed JJ and he's facing charges in other cases.

"It victimized us even further," said Clavo about SB1391.

"This law will now allow those responsible for those acts to be free with no consequences."

This should have been the first day of Lindsey's juvenile trial.

With some kind of prosecution so close, why does Clavo feel pushing for what could be an lengthy appeal is better?

"He was aware of his actions at the time. He decided to put a gun in his hand."

The basis for the appeal is that SB 1391 violates California's constitution, claiming it legislatively repeals existing law - provisions in Prop 21 and 57 - reversing the spirit of measures meant to allow for young teens to face prosecution as adults.

To make that kind of change, Sacramento County's Assistant Chief Deputy District Attorney Rod Norgaard says, it would have had to to have been done by initiative.

"As long as God is willing  to give me breath in my lungs and a heartbeat in my body I have time.  And I will see it through...not only for me, but for everyone else too," said Clavo.

Lindsey's attorneys have 10 days to respond to the writ submitted to the appeals court by prosecutors.

California's Attorney General has to weigh in as well.

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