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In Re D.B., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. v. D.B

October 31, 2012

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



APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of Sacramento County, Stacy Boulware Eurie, Judge. (Super. Ct. No. JV125361)

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

CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION

Affirmed in part and reversed in part with directions.

A juvenile who is adjudged a ward of the court can be committed to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) only if "the most recent offense alleged in any petition and admitted or found to be true by the court is . . . described in" Welfare and Institutions Code section 707, subdivision (b), or Penal Code section 290.008, subdivision (c). (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 733, subd. (c).)*fn1 The issue presented here is whether a juvenile may be committed to the DJF if the petition alleges and the court finds that the juvenile committed several offenses on more than one occasion, but the most recent occurring offense was not one described in section 707, subdivision (b) (hereafter 707(b)).

Here, the wardship petition alleged nine counts. The "most recent offense[s]" alleged in the petition and found to be true by the court were alleged to have occurred on May 30, 2010, and were not offenses described in section 707(b). The remaining offenses were alleged to have occurred one week earlier, on May 23, 2010. One of these alleged offenses (robbery), which the court found to be true, was an offense described in section 707(b).

Defendant argues section 733, subdivision (c), means exactly what it says, and that he was therefore ineligible for commitment to the DJF. The People argue the phrase "most recent offense" does not refer to the date the offense was committed, but to the date the petition is filed and adjudicated. In other words, the People contend the statute means a ward may be committed to the DJF only if the most recent petition containing an allegation found true by the court alleges an offense that is described in section 707(b).

We discern no ambiguity in the statutory language, and conclude that the statute's reference to "the most recent offense alleged in any petition" means the most recently occurring offense. We shall remand for further dispositional proceedings.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

D.B. was 16 years old in May 2010. The first seven counts of D.B.'s juvenile wardship petition were alleged to have occurred on May 23, 2010. On that date, D.B. and another person approached Marcus Robinson as Robinson was sitting in his car, which was parked in front of Robinson's mother's house. D.B. punched Robinson in the jaw, and when Robinson tried to run away, D.B. and two others punched him six or seven times, took his car keys, wallet, and necklace, then drove away in Robinson's car. Robinson suffered a fractured jaw, abrasions, and bite marks. One of the charges resulting from this occurrence was carjacking, a violation of Penal Code section 215. Carjacking is an offense described in section 707(b).

The last two counts of D.B.'s juvenile wardship petition were alleged to have occurred one week later, on May 30, 2010. On that date, a police officer stopped D.B. and asked for his name. D.B. gave a false name, and, suspecting as much, the officer attempted to detain him. D.B. ran away but was soon caught by other officers. Robinson happened to see D.B. as he was fleeing the police, and identified D.B. to the officers as the person who had attacked him and taken his car the week before.

The occurrence on May 30, 2010, resulted in two counts: violation of Penal Code section 148, subdivision (a)(1) (resisting a police officer), and violation of section 148.9, subdivision (a) (false identification to a police officer). Neither of these offenses is described in section 707(b).

The trial court found all the charges to be true, and sustained the petition.

D.B. argued below that he did not qualify for a DJF commitment because the most recent offense alleged in the wardship petition was not an offense described in section 707(b). The juvenile court found that the phrase "most recent offense" as used in section 733, subdivision (c) referred to the date the petition was filed and not the date the offense was committed. The ...


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