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In Re Justin N., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. Justin N

December 22, 2010


Appeal from a judgment of the Superior Court of Orange County, Kimberly Menniger, Judge. Affirmed. (Super. Ct. No. DL036583)

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

In re Justin N.



California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.


A petition to declare Justin N. a ward of the court under Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 was filed on February 19, 2010. The petition alleged that Justin had committed second degree robbery (Pen. Code, §§ 211, 212.5, subd. (c)).*fn1 At the conclusion of trial, the court found the allegations of the petition were true and further found that the offense was a "strike" felony for purposes of the "Three Strikes" law. The court ordered Justin committed to the custody of the probation department and directed that he spend 90 days in custody in an appropriate facility, with 27 days' credit for time served.

Defendant filed a notice of appeal, and we appointed counsel to represent him. Counsel filed a brief which set forth the facts of the case. Counsel did not argue against the client, but advised the court no issues were found to argue on defendant's behalf. We examine the entire record ourselves to see if any arguable issue is present.

The charges arose from the following summary of facts. In February 2010, Wilson Nguy placed an advertisement to sell his Blackberry cell phone on the Craig's List Web site. He planned to sell it for $240. Someone called and expressed interest, and the parties met in the evening at a Target store in Garden Grove. At the agreed upon time, Nguy met Justin and his companion, later identified as Derrick T. Nguy let them examine the phone, and they began passing it back and forth.

Justin asked Nguy if he could go with him down a nearby alley to get money from his mother. Nguy declined and said he did not want to go, and the two continued passing the phone back and forth. Derrick then hit Nguy in the head with a closed fist and fled toward the alley. Justin went through the parking lot, and although Nguy gave chase, he did not catch him.

After the incident, Nguy looked into who might have taken his phone, and was able to come up with some names. About 10 days after the incident, Nguy received his phone back in working condition. Nguy also reported the names he had uncovered to the police, and Justin was eventually arrested. After receiving warnings pursuant to Miranda v. Arizona (1966) 384 U.S. 436, he agreed to speak with Edwin Wilson, a detective in the Garden Grove Police Department. During the interview, he admitted that he had taken the phone from Nguy and ran away. At trial, Justin testified that he did not know that Derrick intended to hit the victim.

We must view the evidence in the light most favorable to the judgment, drawing all reasonable deductions from the evidence in the judgment's favor. We must accept all assessments of credibility as made by the trier of fact, then determine if substantial evidence exists to support each element of the offense. (See People v. Carpenter (1997) 15 Cal.4th 312, 387.) Before a verdict may be set aside for insufficiency of the evidence, a party must demonstrate "that upon no hypothesis whatever is there sufficient substantial evidence to support it." (People v. Redmond (1969) 71 Cal.2d 745, 755; People v. Bolin (1998) 18 Cal.4th 297, 331.)

"Robbery is the felonious taking of personal property in the possession of another, from his person or immediate presence, and against his will, accomplished by means of force or fear." (§ 211.) The elements of robbery are clearly established here, mostly by Justin's own admissions. The robbery in this case was accomplished by force, specifically, by Derrick's act of hitting Nguy in order to create an opportunity to flee with the phone. (See People v. Estes (1983) 147 Cal.App.3d 23, 27-28.) Even if, as he claims, Justin did not know that Derrick planned to hit Nguy, it was the natural and probable consequence of planning to steal a phone from someone. (People v. Mendoza (1998) 18 Cal.4th 1114, 1123.)

We have examined the record and found no other arguable issue. (People v. Wende (1979) 25 Cal.3d 436.) Defendant was given 30 days to file written argument on his own behalf. That period has passed, ...

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