California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, Third Division
[REVIEW GRANTED BY CAL. SUPREME COURT]
Appeal from an order of the Superior Court of Orange County, No. 12ZF0158 William R. Froeberg, Judge.
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Tony Rackauckas, District Attorney, and Stephan Sauer, Deputy District Attorney for Plaintiff and Appellant.
Frank Davis, Alternate Defender, and Antony C. Ufland, Deputy Alternate Defender for Defendant and Respondent.
RYLAARSDAM, ACTING P. J.
The Orange County Grand Jury issued an indictment that charged defendant Isaias Arroyo and six other persons with conspiracy to commit murder (Pen. Code, §§ 187 & 182) and active participation in a criminal street gang (Pen. Code, § 186.22, subd. (a)), plus alleged the defendants committed count 1 for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with a criminal street gang (Pen. Code, § 186.22, subd. (b)). The indictment included a finding defendant and two others “were fourteen years old or over on the date of the violation and the conspiracy to commit murder
charge... falls within... Welfare and Institutions Code section 707[, subdivision] (d)(2).” (Hereafter section 707(d); all further undesignated statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code.)
Defendant initially pleaded not guilty to the charges and denied the enhancement allegation. He then demurred to the indictment, arguing “[section] 707(d) mandates that the prosecution proceed by way of [a] preliminary hearing and [i]nformation” when filing criminal charges against a minor in adult court, and thus “the grand jury... had no legal authority to inquire into the offenses charged as they relate to [defendant] as he was a juvenile at the time....”
The court allowed defendant to withdraw his plea and sustained the demurrer on its merits, concluding section 707(d)(4) “requires a magistrate’s determination that [a] juvenile” qualifies for prosecution in adult criminal court and thus the case could not proceed by way of an indictment. The People appeal from this ruling. (Pen. Code, § 1238, subd. (a)(2) [prosecution may appeal from order sustaining demurrer].) We agree the trial court erred in interpreting the statute and reverse.
1. Standard of Review