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In re Spencer S.

August 21, 2009

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



Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court of Orange County, Donna L. Crandall, Judge. Affirmed. (Super. Ct. No. DL030312).

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

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

OPINION

Under Welfare and Institutions Code section 790 et seq., which governs deferred entry of judgment (DEJ), first-time juvenile felons may have their charges dismissed and records sealed upon successfully completing probation.*fn1 Spencer S. (minor), a first-time juvenile misdemeanant, contends the DEJ law violates equal protection principles by denying him the benefits afforded juvenile felons. We conclude there is a rational basis for the DEJ law‟s focus on juvenile felons. Accordingly, the DEJ law does not violate the equal protection clauses of the state and federal Constitutions.

Minor also contends a probation condition forbidding him from associating with persons he knows to be on probation is unconstitutionally overbroad and must therefore be modified. For reasons explained below, we disagree.

Accordingly, we affirm the judgment.

FACTS

At a party on August 25, 2007, a "fight broke out" between about 25 people (including minor) and a male gang member named Trevor, during which the group of people attacked Trevor, threw bottles and chairs at him, and chased him into the street. Amanda S., a good friend of Trevor, tried to break up the fight by "pushing people out of the way." According to Amanda, when she "shoved" minor, he "socked [her] in the face." Christina J., Amanda‟s friend, saw minor throw Amanda on the ground, get on top of her, and hit her. Christina pushed minor off Amanda. According to Christina, minor got up and hit Christina on the cheek. According to minor, he never hit either girl.

In a pretrial report, the probation department stated minor had been "referred to the Delinquency Prevention Program [almost four years earlier] for disruptive behavior and [being] unable to function properly in a regular school setting."

He was currently attending a high school. He had participated in family counseling seven years earlier and in fourth grade had been "caught with a marijuana like substance." The probation department concluded minor needed "structure in his life and a higher level of supervision [than could] be provided if placed on a diversion program." The probation department therefore referred the matter to the district attorney.

The People petitioned to have minor declared a ward of the court under section 602 on grounds he committed misdemeanor assault (Pen. Code, § 240) and misdemeanor battery (Pen. Code, § 242) on both Amanda and Christina.

Minor denied all allegations in the petition and never requested the court to determine his eligibility for DEJ. At the jurisdictional hearing, defense counsel argued minor acted in self-defense.

The juvenile court found minor did not act in self-defense and found the petition‟s allegations to be true beyond a reasonable doubt. It declared minor a ward of the court (§ 602) and placed him on formal, supervised probation with conditions. Those conditions included a prohibition forbidding minor from associating "with anyone who [he knows] to be on probation...."

DISCUSSION

Because Minor is a Misdemeanant, the Court Did Not Err by Failing to Consider Whether He was Eligible for DEJ

Minor argues that "limiting DEJ to minors charged with felonies violates his right to equal protection of the laws." He concludes the court erred by failing to ...


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