Articles Posted in Juvenile Law

by
Jose S., a former ward of the juvenile court, moved under Welfare and Institutions Code section 781 to seal juvenile records related to an admitted charge of lewd and lascivious conduct that occurred in 2002. The juvenile court denied the motion, finding Jose was precluded from relief under section 781 because of an additional admitted and disqualifying charge of assault with a deadly weapon in 2005. On appeal, Jose argued each offense constituted a separate case for purposes of section 781 and that the records related to his 2002 offense should have been sealed. Jose argued in the alternative that the court's denial of his motion to seal was improper because the 2005 assault did not fall within the list of disqualifying offenses set forth in section 707, subdivision (b). The Court of Appeal rejected both these contentions and found the juvenile court did not err in refusing to seal Jose’s records. View "In re Jose S." on Justia Law

by
Voters passed Proposition 57 on November 8, 2016, effective the next day. As relevant here, the new law eliminated the State’s ability to directly file criminal charges against a juvenile defendant in a court of criminal jurisdiction (Adult Court). Jeremy Walker was charged with two counts of attempted premeditated murder and one count of active participation in a gang. He was seventeen at the time of the alleged crimes. A jury found Walker guilty as charged. The jury also found firearm and gang enhancements true. The trial court sentenced Walker to 80 years to life in prison. In May 2015, the Court of Appeal ruled that the trial court erred in admitting certain evidence at Walker's trial and reversed his convictions. In September 2015, the remittitur issued in Walker's appeal. Since the issuance of the remittitur, Walker waited for retrial. While waiting, Proposition 57 became effective, and Walker moved to transfer his case from Adult Court to Juvenile Court. Walker argued Proposition 57 applied retroactively to his case. The trial court agreed; the State appealed, and the Court of Appeal reversed, finding Proposition 57 did not apply here. View "California v. Super. Ct." on Justia Law

by
David, age 17 years 11 months, was a victim of past gun violence and is a wheelchair-bound diabetic in need of day-to-day medical assistance. He was living in a homeless shelter when a dependency petition was filed, alleging that he was abandoned by his mother and left without means of support. An investigation revealed that David had not been forthcoming about his family. The court dismissed the petition, finding that David had a support system in place but had chosen to leave it behind to be on his own. Had the petition not been dismissed, David would likely have qualified for transitional support as a nonminor dependent until age 21. The court of appeals dismissed an appeal. Dependency jurisdiction may not be initiated in the first instance over someone who is over age 18; it must be initiated before age 18, and by the plain terms of the Juvenile Court Law, may only be “retain[ed],” “continu[ed]” or “resum[ed]” for nonminors in certain circumstances until age 21. David’s case is now moot because he is 18 and any error by the juvenile court in failing to assume dependency jurisdiction is effectively unreviewable. View "In re David B." on Justia Law

by
G.F., a minor, moved to seal the records pertaining to his dismissed petition alleging that he possessed a sharpened letter opener on school grounds. The Court of Appeal held that G.F. was entitled to have his records sealed under Welfare and Institutions Code section 786, because the statute is intended to apply to minors, like G.F., who successfully complete an informal program of supervision after a delinquency petition has been filed against them. The court explained that, once a petition has been filed, as it was here, the minor's program of supervision is governed by section 654.2, not section 654. Accordingly, the court reversed the trial court's denial of the motion to dismiss. View "In re G.F." on Justia Law

Posted in: Juvenile Law

by
Defendant was sentenced to life without parole (LWOP) for special circumstance murder. While defendant's original appeal was pending, the United States Supreme Court decided Miller v. Alabama, (2012) 567 U.S. 460, which held that mandatory LWOP sentences for juvenile homicide offenders violated the Eighth Amendment. In defendant's first appeal, the Court of Appeal reversed the judgment and remanded to the trial court to reconsider defendant's LWOP sentence after applying the individualized sentencing criteria set forth in Miller. After the trial court again imposed an LWOP sentence, defendant appealed once more. In supplemental briefing, defendant argued that Proposition 57, the Public Safety and Rehabilitation Act of 2016 applied retroactively to his case. In the published portion of this opinion, the Court of Appeal held that the suitability hearing provisions of Proposition 57 are not retroactive. View "People v. Marquez" on Justia Law

by
Although the Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act (Proposition 47) applies generally to juveniles as held in Alejandro N. v. Superior Court, (2015) 238 Cal.App.4th 1209, the search for statutory intent calls for a more narrow and limited approach, which focuses on the statutory language and settled case law interpreting this language. Applying this approach, the Court of Appeal held that defendant's juvenile adjudication for a violation of Penal Code section 243.4 was not a prior conviction as used in Health and Safety Code section 11377 and did not disqualify him from misdemeanor sentencing. Accordingly, the court reversed the trial court's finding that defendant's offense constituted a felony instead of a misdemeanor. View "People v. Zamora" on Justia Law

by
Where a ward’s compliance with probation conditions (Welfare and Institutions Code section 786) has been satisfactory for dismissal purposes, the court must seal the ward’s records in accordance with the statute. A 2014 section 602 wardship petition charged A.V., age 15, with felony possession of marijuana for sale and misdemeanor possession of concentrated cannabis. A.V. admitted the truth of the allegations. The court placed A.V. on probation on the conditions, among others, that he complete 150 hours of community service work, write a 1,000-word essay about the effects of marijuana on the adolescent brain, refrain from using or possessing alcohol or drugs, and complete outpatient substance abuse counseling. While on probation, A.V. twice tested positive for marijuana use and spent time in juvenile hall. Ultimately, citing A.V.’s “record of successfully completing probation programs, excellent reports from his school, and his family support network,” the probation department recommended “that all proceedings be dismissed.” The court agreed to dismiss the proceedings but refused to seal the records. The court of appeal remanded to have the records sealed. View "In re A.V." on Justia Law

Posted in: Juvenile Law

by
Oswaldo, age 14, was declared a ward of the court and placed on probation after he admitted the allegation of a Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 petition that he committed misdemeanor battery on the property of a school, park, or hospital. The court dismissed an allegation of felony resisting an officer. Another section 602 petition, filed a month later, alleged two counts of felony vandalism causing damage of over $400. Days later, the probation officer filed a notice, alleging that Oswaldo had violated probation by failing to obey all laws, comply with his court-ordered curfew, attend school and behave appropriately in school. He admitted the first count, reduced to a misdemeanor; the second count and probation violation allegations were dismissed. The court removed Oswaldo from parental custody and ordered conditions of probation, to which Oswaldo objected, including that Oswaldo “not be in any specific locations where gang members are known by him to meet or gather or specific locations known by him for gang-related activity or specified by his probation officer or a parent, in writing, as involving gang-related activity, nor shall he participate in any gang-related activity.” The court of appeal affirmed, rejecting an argument that the condition was unconstitutionally vague for lacking an express knowledge requirement. View "In re Oswaldo R." on Justia Law

by
R.S. acknowledged that he did not object to two issues he raised on appeal to the Court of Appeal; the Court determined R.S. forfeited those issues. R.S. was found trespassing on school grounds as a nonstudent. Officers detained him after he became belligerent. One of the officers suffered a hairline fracture to his thumb during the struggle. R.S. was arrested in connection with a robbery outside of a Starbucks approximately two months later. At the police station, R.S. at first denied punching the victim in the head, later admitting to striking the victim. R.S. conceded that he attacked the victim to steal his iPhone. At the disposition hearing, the juvenile court imposed, among others, the following probation conditions: "Minor shall submit [his] person, property, or vehicle, and any property under [his] immediate custody or control to search at any time, with or without probable cause, with or without a search warrant, by any law enforcement officer or peace officers, probation officers, school officials or officers, and any other state security officers or agents engaged in the lawful performance of their duties [search condition]." "The minor shall not knowingly be in any privately owned vehicle with more than one person the minor knows or reasonably should know is under the age of 18 unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, a responsible adult, or with permission of the probation officer [supervision condition]." R.S. challenged these two conditions, arguing the search condition was unconstitutionally overbroad and vague while the supervision condition was unconstitutionally vague. Because he was making facial challenges to the conditions, R.S. argues his claims of error raised pure questions of law that the Court of Appeal should review. The Court disagreed, concluding R.S. forfeited these challenges by not raising them sooner. View "In re R.S." on Justia Law

by
The trial court complied with California Rules of Court, rule 5.651(b)(2)(D) by sufficiently considering I.V.'s educational needs. I.V. appealed a dispositional order adjudging him a ward of the court pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 and placing him on formal probation, subject to various terms and conditions. On appeal, I.V. argued the juvenile court erroneously imposed a probation condition requiring him to enroll in the Reflections Day Center Treatment Program without making necessary findings about his special educational needs under Rule of Court 5.651(b)(2)(D). I.V. also argued that a probation condition allowing warrantless searches of his "person, property, vehicle, and any property under his/her immediate custody or control" was unconstitutionally vague and overbroad because it may encompass searches of his electronic devices and data. The Court of Appeal affirmed. View "In re I.V." on Justia Law