Justia Juvenile Law Opinion SummariesArticles Posted in Supreme Court of California
In re F.M.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal declining to remand this matter to the juvenile court, holding that because the trial court did not comply with the "mandatory express declaration" set forth in Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code 702 and was not "aware of" wobbler offenses, the court of appeals erred in failing to remand the case for further proceedings.Under section 702, when a minor is found to have committed a wobbler, which is punishable either as a misdemeanor or as a felony at the discretion of the sentencing court, "the court shall declare the offense to be a misdemeanor or a felony." In the instant case, the trial court did not comply with section 702's express declaration mandate. The court of appeal concluded that remand was unnecessary because the record established that the juvenile court "was both aware of and exercised its discretion to treat the sustained allegations as felonies." The Supreme Court reversed, holding that, applying In re Manzy W., 14 Cal.4th 1199 (1997), a remand was required on the record. View "In re F.M." on Justia Law
Michael G. v. Superior Court of Orange County
After determining that Father’s delusions and paranoia put A.G.(age 14) at risk of serious harm, the juvenile court assumed jurisdiction, ordered that A.G. be removed from Father’s custody, and ordered reunification services and a psychological evaluation. At the six-month hearing, the Agency reported that Father had received his case plan several months earlier but had not signed the plan nor engaged in recommended services. Father also resisted psychological evaluation. At the 12-month hearing, the Agency reported that Father had made moderate progress. The court granted an extension, finding that the Agency had provided reasonable services. At the 18-month hearing, the Agency reported that returning A.G. to Father’s custody still presented a substantial risk of detriment to her well-being and recommended a permanency planning hearing. The court found that the Agency had not provided reasonable services between the 12- and 18-month hearings but declined to exercise its discretion to continue the case, noting Father’s uneven progress.The California Supreme Court affirmed. Reasonable reunification services must be offered to qualifying parents for a minimum of six or 12 months, depending on the child’s age, and generally may be extended for up to 18 months. The court was not automatically required to grant a further extension based on its finding that reasonable services were not provided during the 12- to 18-month extension. Once a child has been out of the parent’s custody for 18 months, the law ordinarily requires the court to proceed to set a hearing to determine a permanent plan. View "Michael G. v. Superior Court of Orange County" on Justia Law
In re D.N.
The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeal affirming the judgment of the juvenile court finding true that Minor had committed one count of violating Cal. Penal Code 288.5 and order probation, thus rejecting Minor's claims that a community service provision of the disposition violated separation of powers principles and infringed his due process rights, holding that there was no error.In affirming, the appellate court acknowledged that a juvenile court may not delegate to a probation officer the authority to determine that a minor is in violation of probation but held that, in this case, the juvenile court's order permitting the probation officer to offer Minor the option of community service for an alleged violation did not permit the probation department to decide if and when a violation of probation had occurred. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the juvenile court order authorizing the probation officer to offer Minor on probation the option of performing community service, in an amount chosen by the probation officer up to a maximum set by the court, in the event Minor was alleged to have violated a term of probation, did not violate due process or separation of powers principles. View "In re D.N." on Justia Law
People v. Padilla
The Supreme Court held that Proposition 57, a measure that amended the law governing the punishment of juvenile offenses in adult criminal court by requiring hearings to determine whether the offenses should instead by hearing in juvenile court, applied during resentencing where the criminal court sentence imposed on Defendant, a juvenile offender, was issued before the initiative's passage but was since vacated.Defendant was originally sentenced before Proposition 57 was enacted, but his sentence was later vacated on habeas corpus, and the case was returned to the trial court for imposition of a new sentence. At issue was whether Proposition 57 applied to Defendant's resentencing. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the court of appeal, holding that Proposition 57 applied to Defendant's resentencing because the judgment in his case became nonfinal when his sentence was vacated on habeas corpus. View "People v. Padilla" on Justia Law
O.G. v. Superior Court
The Supreme Court upheld Senate Bill 1391 as a permissible amendment to Proposition 57 and reversed the judgment in the case, holding that the Legislature acted within its authority.Proposition 57, which was passed in the November 2016 general election, allowed prosecutors to move to transfer some minors as young as fourteen years old from juvenile court to adult criminal court. Senate Bill 1391, enacted in 2018, amended Proposition 57 to prohibit minors under the age of sixteen from being transferred to adult criminal court. The court of appeal held that Senate Bill 1391 was invalid because it was inconsistent with Proposition 57. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the amendment was fully consistent with and furthered Proposition 57's purposes of promoting rehabilitation of youthful offenders and reducing the prison population, and therefore, Senate Bill 1391 was a constitutional amendment to Proposition 57. View "O.G. v. Superior Court" on Justia Law
In re A.N.
The Supreme Court held that the juvenile court may exercise jurisdiction in a formal wardship proceeding on the basis of the minor having four or more truancies within one school year under Cal. Welf & Inst. Code 601(b) if a fourth truancy report has been issued to the appropriate school official, even if the minor has not been previously referred to a school attendance review board (SARB) or a similar truancy mediation program.The district court filed a wardship petition against A.N., a high school student, in the juvenile court, alleging that A.N. was a habitual truant and that she was within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. After a hearing, the juvenile court sustained the wardship petition. A.N. appealed, arguing that the juvenile court lacked jurisdiction because, at the time the petition was filed, she had not yet appeared before a SARB and because she and her parents had not received a fourth truancy report. The court of appeals affirmed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that because A.N.’s school had sent at least four truancy reports to the superintendent of the school district before the wardship petition was filed, the juvenile court possessed jurisdiction over A.N. View "In re A.N." on Justia Law
In re G.C.
The Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the appellate court dismissing a minor's appeal challenging the juvenile court's neglect of its mandatory duty under Cal. Welf. & Inst. Code 702 to declare a wobbler offense to be a misdemeanor or a felony, holding that the minor may not bring such a challenge in an appeal from a later dispositional order after the time to appeal the original disposition expired.Two wardship petitions were filed against G.C. alleging that G.C. committed three wobbler offenses. G.C. admitted all three allegations. The court, however, did not declare on the record whether the offenses were felonies or misdemeanors. Thereafter, G.C. was adjudged a ward and placed on probation. G.C. did not appeal the disposition. After G.C. violated the terms of her probation the juvenile court maintained G.C. in her mother's custody under the supervision of the probation department with various conditions. G.C. appealed, arguing that the court failed expressly to declare whether the offenses were misdemeanors or felonies. The appellate court determined that the issue was not timely raised. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that although section 702 is mandatory, noncompliance did not make the original dispositional order an unauthorized sentence that could be corrected at any time. View "In re G.C." on Justia Law
In re Ricardo P.
In this appeal concerning a condition of probation requiring Ricardo P. to submit to warrantless searches of his electronics devices the Supreme Court held that the electronics search condition was not reasonably related to future criminality and was therefore invalid under People v. Lent, 15 Cal.3d 481 (1975).In Lent, the Supreme Court held that "a condition of probation which requires or forbids conduct which is not itself criminal is valid if that conduct is reasonably related to the crime of which the defendant was convicted or to future criminality." Ricardo, a juvenile, was placed on probation after admitting two counts of felony burglary. As a condition of his probation, the juvenile court imposed the electronics search. Although there was no indication Defendant used an electronic device in connection with the burglaries, the court imposed the condition in order to monitor Ricardo's compliance with separate conditions. The court of appeals concluded that the condition was unconstitutionally overbroad and should be narrowed but held that the condition was permissible under Lent because it served to prevent future criminality. The Supreme Court disagreed, holding that the electronics search condition was not reasonably related to future criminality. View "In re Ricardo P." on Justia Law
In re Cook
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeal granting Anthony Cook's petition for writ of habeas corpus and remanded the matter to the court of appeal with directions to deny the petition, holding that resort to a petition for writ of habeas corpus was unnecessary in this case, at least in the first instance.Cook was convicted of two counts of first degree murder and one count of premeditated attempted murder. Cook, who was seventeen years old when he committed the murders, was sentenced to life with the possibility of parole for the attempted murder and five consecutive terms of twenty-five years to life for the murders and enhancements. Cook later filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus arguing that his sentence was cruel and unusual punishment in violation of the Eighth Amendment and Miller v. Alabama, 567 U.S. 460 (2012). The court of appeal granted the writ, holding that, in light of People v. Franklin, 63 Cal.4th 261 (2016), Cook was entitled to make a record before the superior court of mitigating evidence tied to his youth. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that Cal. Penal Code 1203.01 provides an adequate remedy at law to preserve evidence of youth-related factors. View "In re Cook" on Justia Law
In re H.W.
The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the Court of Appeal upholding the juvenile court's finding that H.W. possessed an "other instrument or tool with intent feloniously to break or enter" within the meaning of Cal. Penal Code 466, holding that the pair of pliers that H.W. was in possession of when he was apprehended were not an "other instrument or tool" within the meaning of section 466.H.W., a minor, entered a Sears department store with the intent to steal a pair of jeans. When H.W. was apprehended and searched, he had in possession the jeans and a pair of pliers approximately ten inches in length, with a half-inch blade. The juvenile court sustained the burglary tool possession allegation brought against H.W. The Court of Appeal upheld the juvenile court's determination. The Supreme Court reversed, holding (1) the record did not support the conclusion that H.W. intended to use the pliers to do anything other than remove the anti-theft tag from the jeans; and (2) therefore, there was insufficient evidence to support the section 466 allegation. View "In re H.W." on Justia Law