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In re Ramon M.

October 22, 2009; as modified October 30, 2009


Appeal from orders of the Superior Court of Orange County, Robert Byron Hutson, Judge. Affirmed, remanded with directions. (Super. Ct. No. DL022509).

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



The minor, Ramon M., has been before the juvenile court on nine separate petitions. The most recent petition resulted in a one- year sentence in custody. Ramon argues that the court should have ordered him to serve the commitment in a juvenile facility rather than county jail. While this issue is moot, at the request of the parties and because it is likely to recur, we shall opine on it before dismissing this part of the appeal.

Ramon further claims that as to prior adjudications, the court failed to declare on the record whether the offenses were felonies or misdemeanors, and while this is purely a technical error, this argument has merit. With the exception of one provision, which we shall order slightly modified, we reject his final claim regarding his probation terms. We therefore affirm the court's orders, but remand for the limited purpose of declaring on the record whether the prior adjudications were felonies or misdemeanors.


Ramon M. (Ramon) was 16 years old in October 2005. On October 25, a first amended petition was filed, alleging that Ramon committed criminal threats (Pen. Code, § 422, count one); aggravated assault (Pen. Code, § 245, subd. (a)(1), count two); participation in an unlawful street gang (Pen. Code, § 186.22, subd. (a), count three), and vandalism, a misdemeanor (Pen. Code, § 594, subds. (a), (b)(1), count four). The petition also alleged that counts one and two were committed for the benefit of a street gang. (Pen. Code, § 186.22, subd. (b)(1).)

On the same date, Ramon admitted the truth of the petition as to counts one and three, and the enhancement, admitting participating in and committing the offense for the benefit of the Barrio Pobre street gang. The court dismissed the remaining counts and the enhancement. Ramon was adjudicated a ward of the court, received credit for time served, and was released on probation subject to certain terms, including the condition that he not associate with gang members or be present in known gang areas.

From 2005 through June 2008, Ramon was in and out of custody and continuously on probation. Six additional petitions were filed. His offenses during the periods he was out of custody, all of which he admitted, included burglary, gang-related vandalism, and numerous probation violations, including violation of the gang terms. At the hearing on each petition, Ramon was ordered to comply with all prior probation terms. Ramon turned 18 in October 2007.

By the spring of 2008, Ramon was out of custody after serving 180 days in a juvenile facility for probation violations. On three occasions between May 31 and June 26, 2008, Ramon was stopped by police in Barrio Pobre territory. On May 31, the police responded to a call in the early morning at the corner of Lincoln and Laxore, where it was reported that gang members were loitering and causing a disturbance. One of the responding officers, Chris Cooper, knew the area to be part of Barrio Pobre territory. When he arrived, he made contact with Ramon and two individuals who were with him, Brian and Edwin Alarrazabal, who Cooper recognized as Barrio Pobre gang members. As he approached, Brian Alarrazabal threw down a switch blade, which Cooper retrieved.

On June 1, Anaheim Police Officer Jason States responded to a call at Lincoln and Laxore, an area he knew to be part of Barrio Pobre gang territory. States found Ramon with the Alarrazabal brothers and another individual outside of a liquor store. They had formed a semicircle around two African-American men, who reported that they had been approached and asked their gang affiliation.

Ramon identified himself to States as "Knuckles," said that he had just gotten out of juvenile hall, and identified himself as a member of the Barrio Pobre street gang. He said his moniker was due to his reputation as a fighter and he was proud to be a member of the gang. When States asked why he had approached the African-American men, Ramon responded that he "did not like [racial epithet] in his neighborhood."

When contacted by his probation officer about the June 1 incident, Ramon acknowledged that he was with Barrio Pobre gang members in gang territory at the time. He was admonished to refrain from such activity in the future.

On June 26, however, Anaheim Police Officer Mark Brydges contacted Ramon at the intersection of Embassy and Laxore, and area he knew to be Bario Pobre territory, with three other individuals. Ramon was attempting to hide at the time. Ramon identified himself as "Knuckles," and when asked by the officer, he acknowledged he was on probation with gang terms in effect.

On June 30, 2008, the ninth petition, which is the subject of the instant appeal, was filed. The petition alleged eight paragraphs of probation violations. At the probation department's recommendation, Ramon was detained at the county jail pending further proceedings.

Ramon and his mother testified at the subsequent hearing. He admitted that after being released from juvenile hall, he frequently went into Barrio Pobre territory. He claimed that he went there to ...

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