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In Re R.H., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. R.H

February 1, 2012

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



(Super. Ct. No. 52004952)

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

In re R.H.

CA3

NOT TO BE PUBLISHED

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 This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115.

After R.H. (the minor) admitted committing a felony, attempted grand theft (Pen. Code, §§ 664, 487, subd. (c)), the juvenile court declared him a ward of the court and placed him on probation with various terms and conditions. The probation department subsequently filed seven petitions against the minor for violations of probation. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 602, 777.)*fn1

MINOR'S CONTENTIONS

The minor asserts that "in the opening brief [he] raises only one argument -- that the court's June 23 and August 23, 2010 orders must be reversed because they constitute an abuse of discretion." However, the minor's opening brief contains several discrete contentions -- each properly set forth under a separate heading -- that argue for the reversal of the juvenile court's orders under the abuse of discretion standard of review. Specifically, the opening brief urges us to conclude that the juvenile court erred (1) by twice rejecting the probation department's recommendation to send the minor home after he failed in his group home placements, (2) in making placement orders that were not in the best interests of the minor or society, and (3) by failing to order his mental competency to be assessed during the period from December 2007 until February 2008.

We conclude that the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in declining to return the minor to his home while his problematic behaviors required a more structured setting. We do not find that the juvenile court's placement orders were made in derogation of the minor's or society's best interests. Finally, we deem the minor's mental competency claim to be non-cognizable because it relates to appealable orders from which the minor did not appeal. Accordingly, we affirm the juvenile court's June and August 2010 placement orders.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Juvenile Wardship Petition (§ 602)

The facts of the offense leading to the minor being declared a ward of the court are not relevant to the issues raised in this appeal. Thus, we note only that the probation report recounts the minor's attempt to snatch a purse from an elderly woman who was targeted because "she couldn't walk fast and was old."

Subsequent Petitions (§§ 602, 777)

After the juvenile court declared the minor a ward of the court, the probation department filed seven supplemental petitions alleging violations of probation on April 21, 2008 [alleging the minor left school without permission], May 23, 2008 [alleging assault on a teacher, vandalism, failure to obey school rules, and leaving school without permission], August 12, 2009 [alleging the minor absconded from a placement with Victor Youth Services], November 2, 2009 [alleging the minor absconded from a placement at the Milhous Group Home], March 26, 2010 [alleging the minor absconded from a court-ordered placement], May 14, 2010 [alleging the minor again absconded from the Milhous Group Home], and June 7, 2010 [alleging the minor absconded from a group home and was drunk in public].

June and August 2010 Placement Orders

In June 2010, the probation department recommended that the minor be returned home to his mother with "wraparound services."*fn2 In support, the minor's probation officer explained:

"Probation has explored all placement options including but not limited to group home placement RCL 12 or higher in state, group home placement RCL 12 or higher out of state, boot camp with additional mental health services, or a return home with WRAPAROUND and additional county services. Due to minor's lack of criminal sophistication Probation also explored having 26.5[*fn3 ] services take the lead placement role for the minor so that we may better address his education and mental health needs. Probation has met with the 26.5 worker on [R.H.]'s case and with the Assistant Director of the Children's System of Health Care at Health and Human Services to explore each of these options. At this time it is the opinion of Probation and 26.5 that the minor be returned to the home of his mother with WRAPAROUND services. [R.H.] has been away from his family for greater than two years, during such time he has matured mentally and physically, and can benefit from the structure and natural supports that his family can offer."

On June 23, 2010, the juvenile court entered an order continuing the minor as a ward of the court and directing that he be placed in a suitable group home.

On August 4, 2010, the minor petitioned the juvenile court to modify its placement order to allow him to stay with his mother on weekdays. The petition alleged that no suitable group home had been found for him, and that he was "experiencing increased anxiety being locked up beyond any ...


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