People v. Camarillo

Jesus Camarillo was sentenced to 40 years to life in prison for an incident that occurred when he was 16 years old. During his trial, Jesus asserted that he acted out of self-defense, but the jury was not given instructions to consider his youth as a factor in determining whether he believed in the need to use deadly force and whether his belief was reasonable. 

Juvenile Law Center wrote an amicus letter to the Supreme Court of California in support of Jesus’s Petition for Review and accompanying Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus, urging the court to grant review in order to clarify that a defendant’s age must be considered in assessing a claim of self-defense. We argued that the developmental characteristics of youth directly impact their perceptions of threatening situations, and that youth should not be held to an adult reasonableness standard.

The Supreme Court of California declined both Jesus’s Petition for Review and Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus.


Jessica Feierman, Marsha Levick, Karen U. Lindell

Tiffany Faith, Marissa Lariviere