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In Re Joey G., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. Joey G.

May 23, 2012

IN RE JOEY G., A PERSON COMING UNDER THE JUVENILE COURT LAW. THE PEOPLE, PLAINTIFF AND RESPONDENT,
v.
JOEY G., A MINOR, DEFENDANT AND APPELLANT.



APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Imperial County, Christine V. Pate, Judge. (Retired judge of the San Diego Superior Court, assigned by the Chief Justice pursuant to article VI, section 6 of the California Constitution.) (Super. Ct. No. JJL25023)

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Huffman, Acting P. J.

CERTIFIED FOR PARTIAL PUBLICATION*fn1

Reversed and remanded.

Joey G., a minor, was charged with one count of felony grand theft of personal property (Pen. Code, §487, subd. (a); count 1) and one count of felony receipt of stolen property (Pen. Code, § 496, subd. (a); count 2). After the first count was reduced to a misdemeanor and the second count was dismissed, Joey admitted to the allegation of the first count. The court returned a true finding as to count 1 and declared Joey a ward of the court.

Joey appeals, arguing the court erred when it failed to obtain and consider a joint report pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code*fn2 section 241.1 and make a determination as to whether the status of ward or dependent would best serve his interests. Joey also argues he is entitled to the benefit of the 2011 amendment to Penal Code section 487, subdivision (a), which increased the threshold dollar amount for grand theft.

In the published portion of this opinion, we reverse the court's decision regarding Joey's status as a ward and remand the judgment to permit the court to obtain and consider a joint report prepared by Joey's probation officer and social worker in accordance with section 241.1. We publish on this issue to underscore the importance that the juvenile court follow the Legislature's clear instructions in section 241.1. In the unpublished portion of this opinion, we reverse and remand the judgment based on the 2011 amendment to Penal Code section 487, subdivision (a).

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

Joey G. stole a cell phone worth $600 while he was a court-placed foster child. Joey committed the crime in his foster placement home. Following his arrest, Joey was found to be a section 300 ward of Imperial County. Subsequently, the court found Joey's crime placed him within section 602 of juvenile court law in San Bernardino County. Without an additional hearing, the court ultimately determined that Joey fell under section 602 and not section 300 and ordered Joey detained as a ward of the juvenile court.

The Imperial County Probation Department created a Dispo/Social Study and Case Plan for Joey in which it recommended Joey be declared a ward of the court pursuant to section 602. The record does not make it clear whether the court considered this report when it came to the same conclusion. The report included a description of the "present problem" including the series of events leading up to Joey's arrest as well as information Joey provided to officers after he was in custody. It described Joey in terms of his address, date of birth, physical qualities, family background, court information, and his education. The report also included Joey's history of abuse, delinquent behavior, and substance abuse. It contained a statement from Joey's aunt regarding Joey's behavior and home life, a description of Joey's placement under section 300, and a list of services and counseling that have been available to him. The report listed additional services available to assist Joey, including preplacement services and potential group home placements. Finally, the probation officer's report referred to a conversation between Joey's social worker and the probation officer in which the social worker described Joey as "a good kid who has the potential to do well and be successful" even though Joey has been offered "a multitude of services [and] has failed to take advantage of them."

DISCUSSION

Joey contends the court abused its discretion when it failed to obtain and consider a joint report pursuant to section 241.1 and make a determination as to whether the status of ward or dependent would best serve his interests. Joey also contends he is entitled to the benefit of the 2011 amendment to Penal Code section 487, subdivision (a), which increased the threshold dollar amount for grand theft.

We review the court's judgment under an abuse of discretion standard. (In re Michael D. (1987) 188 Cal.App.3d 1392, 1395.) To show abuse of discretion, the appellant must demonstrate the juvenile court exercised its discretion in an arbitrary, capricious or patently absurd manner that resulted in a miscarriage of justice. (People v. Jordan (1986) 42 Cal.3d 308, 316.) We will not lightly substitute our decision for that rendered by the juvenile court and we must indulge all reasonable inferences to support the juvenile court's decision. (In re Michael D., supra, 188 Cal.App.3d at p. 1395.)

I

WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE SECTION 241.1 - ...


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