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In re Eddie L.

July 2, 2009

IN RE EDDIE L., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW.
THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
EDDIE L., DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Sacramento County, Richard H. Gilmour, Judge. Reversed in part and affirmed in part. (Super. Ct. No. JV120244).

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Sims, J.

CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION*fn1

Following a contested jurisdiction hearing, the juvenile court sustained a charge of second degree robbery while armed with a firearm against Eddie L., a minor.*fn2 He was continued as a ward of the court and committed to the Sacramento County Boys Ranch.

On appeal, the minor contends that remand is required for the juvenile court to (1) make a discretionary determination of his maximum period of confinement as provided in Welfare and Institutions Code section 726, subdivision (c) (section 726(c)),*fn3 and (2) enter the minor's maximum period of confinement in the minutes, and (3) conduct a hearing on whether the minor's mother should be in charge of making his educational decisions.

In the published portion of the opinion, we reject the first contention. As pertinent here, section 726(c) applies to minors who are removed from parental custody but not committed to the Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF), formerly California Youth Authority (CYA). The statute requires the juvenile court to set the maximum term for such a minor by taking the upper term for the offense and adding a term for any enhancements that have been pled and proved. That is what the juvenile court did here.

In the unpublished portion of the opinion, we agree with the minor's second and third contentions. We shall therefore remand to the juvenile court with instructions to enter the minor's maximum period of confinement in the minutes and to clarify its order with respect to the role of the minor's mother in his education.

DISCUSSION

I.

At the commencement of the disposition hearing, the court stated that it had "sustained Count 1, which is robbery in the second degree, a felony, with a [Penal Code section] 12022[, subdivision] (a)" and that the "maximum jurisdiction would be six years." Six years is the maximum sentence for second degree robbery (five years) with an armed firearm enhancement (one year). (See Pen. Code, §§ 212.5, 213, 12022, subd. (a).)

The minor argues that section 726 contemplates that the juvenile court should not automatically set the statutory maximum term but should rather exercise discretion with respect to setting the minor's maximum term of confinement. For reasons that follow, we do not agree with the minor.

Section 726, subdivision (c), provides: "If the minor is removed from the physical custody of his or her parent or guardian as the result of an order of wardship made pursuant to Section 602, the order shall specify that the minor may not be held in physical confinement for a period in excess of the maximum term of imprisonment which could be imposed upon an adult convicted of the offense or offenses which brought or continued the minor under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court.

"As used in this section and section 731, "maximum term of imprisonment' means the longest of the three time periods set forth in paragraph (2) of subdivision (a) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code, but without the need to follow the provisions of subdivision (b) of Section 1170 of the Penal Code or to consider time for good behavior or participation pursuant to Sections 2930, 2931, and 2932 of the Penal Code, plus enhancements which must be proven if pled."

""Under settled canons of statutory construction, in construing a statute we ascertain the Legislature's intent in order to effectuate the law's purpose. (Dyna-Med, Inc. v. Fair Employment & Housing Com. (1987) 43 Cal.3d 1379, 1386--1387.) We must look to the statute's words and give them their usual and ordinary meaning. (DaFonte v. Up-Right, Inc. (1992) 2 Cal.4th 593, 601.) The statute's plain meaning controls the court's interpretation unless its words are ambiguous.' (Green v. State of California (2007) 42 Cal.4th 254, 260; see also Gattuso v. Harte-Hanks Shoppers, Inc. (2007) 42 Cal.4th 554, 567.) If the words in the statute do not, by themselves, provide a reliable indicator of legislative intent, "[s]tatutory ambiguities often may be resolved by examining the context in which the language appears and adopting the construction which best serves to harmonize the statute internally and with related statutes. (Woods v. Young (1991) 53 Cal.3d 315, 323.)' (Hsu v. Abbara (1995) 9 Cal.4th 863, 871.) ""Literal construction should not prevail if it is contrary to the legislative intent apparent in the statute . . . ; and if a statute is amenable to two alternative interpretations, the one that leads to the more reasonable result will be followed [citation]." [Citations.]' (People v. ...


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