Justia Juvenile Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in California Supreme Court
In re Greg F.
This case involved a ward on probation for an offense that made him eligible for commitment to the Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF). The ward subsequently committed a new offense that was not listed in Cal. Code Welf. & Inst. 733(c). Section 733(c) states that a ward cannot be committed to DJF unless "the most recent offense" alleged in any petition is one of several enumerated violent offenses. If the prosecution files a notice of probation violation under section 777, the court may revoke the ward's probation and commit the ward to DJF. However, if the prosecution files a new section 602 petition, section 733(c) will prohibit the court from ordering a DJF commitment if the allegation is found true. At issue in this case was whether, under these circumstances, the juvenile court may use its discretion under section 782, which allows the juvenile court to dismiss any wardship petition if the interests of justice, to dismiss the second petition so the matter can be treated as a probation violation, allowing the ward to be committed to DJF. The Supreme Court concluded (1) the court has that discretion; and (2) the juvenile court here had authority to dismiss the 602 petition. View "In re Greg F." on Justia Law
People v. W.B.
The Minor in this case was the subject of several delinquency petitions. Minor was eventually placed in foster care. Minor appealed, arguing the dispositional order placing him in foster care had to be reversed because the juvenile court had failed to comply with the notice requirements of the Indian Child Welfare Act (INCA). The court of appeals affirmed, holding notice was not required because federal law specifically excludes delinquency cases from ICWA, and any interpretation of California law that would expand ICWA's application to delinquencies would be invalid under federal preemption principles. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) California law requires the court to inquire about a child's Indian status at the outset of all juvenile proceedings, but ICWA's additional procedures are not required in most delinquency cases; (2) a delinquency court must ensure that notice is given and other ICWA procedures are complied with only under certain circumstances; and (3) assuming Minor was an Indian child, the juvenile court did not err in failing to give notice under ICWA in this case. View "People v. W.B." on Justia Law
In re M.M.
A high school security officer arrested minor M.M. for vandalism. The county district attorney's office filed an amended petition alleging that the minor had resisted or delayed a public officer in violation of Cal. Penal Code 148(a)(1) and had committed misdemeanor vandalism. The juvenile court found a school security officer was a public officer within the meaning of section 148(a)(1), and found true the allegations that the minor had resisted or delayed a public officer and of misdemeanor vandalism. The court of appeal reversed, concluding that a school security officer is not a public officer within the meaning of section 148(a)(1). The Supreme Court reversed, holding that school security officers, like sworn peace officers, fall within the protection of section 148(a)(1). Remanded. View "In re M.M." on Justia Law
People v. Nelson
Defendant, a 15-year-old, was tried as an adult and convicted of the murder of a 72-year-old and of five first degree burglaries relating to the residences of the victim and two other women. At issue was whether defendant made a postwaiver invocation of his Miranda rights by asking several times to speak to his mother or by making certain other statements while being questioned. The court held that juveniles claiming a postwaiver invocation of their Miranda rights were properly subject to the Davis v. United States standard. Applying that standard, the court concluded that the trial court did not err in finding that defendant's requests to speak to his mother and other statements were not sufficiently clear to require cessation of the interrogation. Accordingly, defendant's confessional statements were properly admitted at trial, and the contrary judgment of the Court of Appeal must be reversed. View "People v. Nelson" on Justia Law
In re C.H.
The juvenile court committed a juvenile ward to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) based on his commission of a sex offense listed in Penal Code section 290.008(c). At issue was whether a court could commit to the DJF a juvenile who had not committed an offense described in Welf. & Inst. Code, 707(b). The court concluded that a juvenile court lacked authority to commit a ward to the DJF under Welf. & Inst. Code, 731(a)(4) if that ward had never been adjudged to have committed an offense described in section 707(b), even if his or her most recent offense alleged in a petition and admitted or found true by the juvenile court was a sex offense set forth in section 290.008(c) as referenced in Welf. & Inst. Code, 733(c). Accordingly, the court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal. View "In re C.H." on Justia Law
In re V.V.; In re J.H
Defendants, minors, committed arson by setting off a firecracker on a brush-covered hillside in Pasadena, causing a fire that burned five acres of forest land. At issue was whether there was sufficient evidence to establish the requisite mental state of malice, as defined in the arson statutes, because defendants lit and threw the firecracker without intent to cause a fire or any other harm. The court held that, under the circumstances of the case, defendants' acts of intentionally igniting and throwing a firecracker amidst dry brush on a hillside, although done without intent to cause a fire or other harm, were sufficient to establish the requisite malice for arson. View "In re V.V.; In re J.H" on Justia Law