A Marin judge dealt a major blow Thursday to Max Wade, the former teenage crime dynamo, in his efforts to salvage part of his adulthood.
Judge Beverly Wood rejected Wades petition to send his case back to juvenile court for prosecution, a move that could have eased his sentence considerably. Wade, who was prosecuted as an adult for attempted murder and other crimes, is serving 21 years to life in prison.
Wade, now 25, was sentenced in June 2014 for two sets of crimes that were prosecuted together. One set of charges stemmed from a motorcycle drive-by shooting targeting a romantic rival in Mill Valley; the other involved the theft of a $200,000 Lamborghini sports car belonging to Guy Fieri, the celebrity restaurateur.
Woods decision came after protracted litigation involving Proposition 57, a reform approved by voters in 2016. One provision of the law mandates that judges, rather than prosecutors, decide whether juveniles should be prosecuted as adults. The California Supreme Court has ruled that the law can be applied retroactively.
In 2017, the 1st District Court of Appeal in San Francisco sent Wades case back to Marin County Superior Court for reconsideration on the Prop. 57 question. Wood set Thursday as the date for her ruling.
Wade, who has been held at the county jail during the litigation, appeared in court with a full beard, closely shaved hair and thick-framed eyeglasses. Also present were his mother, the parents of one of his victims and the two sheriffs detectives who led the investigation.
The judge meticulously explained her five-point analysis for rejecting Wades petition. One key question was whether Wade would have been found suitable for juvenile prosecution at the time of the case.
She concluded that, based on the gravity and sophistication of the crimes, Wade would have been denied juvenile treatment. She cited the perception that rehabilitation efforts would have failed while he was in the youth system.
Even before the case that landed Wade in prison, he was displaying a pattern of criminality, Wood noted. Between 2008 and 2012, he was investigated for allegedly detonating a stink bomb; battery against his mother; stealing his mothers car, repainting it and changing the license plates; and throwing a party for hundreds of teens at the Tiburon home of neighbors who were out of town. He served 90 days in juvenile jail for the party caper.
By the time Wade was a suspect in the attempted murder in 2012, he had made “six figures” by selling fake identification to local teens, Wood said.
“Max was still engrossed in his criminal persona,” she said.
The judge did note that Wade, who turned 25 last month, might have evolved since his incarceration. She cited reports that Wade has earned a high school equivalency certificate, tutored other inmates and resisted pressure inside prison to join the Aryan Brotherhood.
Wade still has some hope for a shorter sentence: SB 620, a relatively new law that gives judges the discretion on whether to add extra time for gun offenses. Before SB 620, gun enhancements were mandatory.
Wades lawyer, Charles Dresow, has filed a petition to get the extra gun penalty stricken from Wades sentence. Wood said she would rule on that issue after receiving written arguments from Dresow and the prosecution.
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