Citizen of the Week!

Isaake Lelenoa had been 16 years old for just 24 days when in October 2006 he left a party in Orange, spotted four teenage girls getting in another vehicle, approached, fired a handgun into the air twice and demanded iPods and purses before fleeing with the loot.


Though Lelenoa later claimed he couldn't have been the bandit because he was at home at the time of the robbery, the Orange County District Attorney's office filed adult criminal charges, a jury convicted him and a judge sentenced him to 23 years in a California prison.


This month, a court of appeal considered Leleona's complaints: that prosecutors should have tried him as a minor in juvenile court where his maximum punishment would have been a stint in the California Youth Authority (CYA) and that losing his freedom until about 2030 is cruel and inhumane.

But the appellate justices weren't sympathetic. They noted that Lelenoa had two other pending criminal cases at the CYA when he committed the armed robbery. They also concluded that the criminal justice system's harshness was appropriate because his actions had been a "serious danger to society."

(Periodically at OCWeekly.com, discover the depths of human depravity in Orange County, California.)

Click HERE for previous "Citizen of the Week!" losers.


--R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly

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