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In re Juan A.

California Court of Appeals, Fourth District, First Division

October 22, 2014

In re JUAN A., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law.
v. JUAN A., Defendant and Appellant.


APPEAL from a judgment of the Superior Court of San Diego County, No. J233602 Richard R. Monroy, Judge.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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Alissa Bjerkhoel, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Dane R. Gillette, Chief Assistant Attorney General, Julie L. Garland, Assistant Attorney General, Charles C. Ragland and Stacy Tyler, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.



Juan A. (the Minor) was charged by a petition filed in juvenile court with one count of misdemeanor battery on school property (Pen. Code, [1] § 243.2, subd. (a)(1)); resisting an officer (§ 148, subd. (a)(1)); disturbing the peace (§ 415); and felony threatening a public officer or employee (§ 71).

At the time of the adjudication hearing, the prosecution's motion to dismiss the misdemeanor battery count was granted. Following the presentation of evidence the court granted the defense motion under Welfare and Institutions Code section 700.1 to dismiss the felony count for insufficient evidence.

The court made true findings on the resisting an officer charge and on the disturbing the peace charge.

The Minor was placed on formal probation. He filed a timely notice of appeal.

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The Minor appeals contending there was not sufficient evidence to support the true findings on either count. After careful examination of the record, we agree with the Minor that the prosecution failed to prove the elements of either offense. Thus the court should not have made true findings on those charges.


The facts of this case are not seriously disputed, although the factual statement in the respondent's brief omits a material statement of the police officer in this case in which she explained that she never ordered the Minor to stop. We believe the statement of facts in the appellant's opening brief is accurate and we set it forth here as background for the discussion which follows.

Jason Gentile was the athletic director at King Chavez High School at 201 A Street in downtown San Diego. Appellant went to Gentile's office whenever he "c[a]me out of class for any reason, " and Gentile felt the two had a "pretty good rapport[.]" On June 13, 2013, Gentile was on lunch duty outside when he heard a commotion and turned around to see the Minor being punched repeatedly by another student. The Minor did not appear to be fighting back; he was "covering himself" in a protective position. Gentile pulled the other student off of the Minor, took him to the main office, and then returned for the Minor. The Minor was crying and "mad."

Inside the school building, on the way to the bathroom on the second floor, the Minor punched a wall and a garbage can two or three times and said "some f words." His fists were clenched, and he was "really mad." Gentile escorted the Minor to the bathroom so that he could freshen up and calm down. But although the Minor splashed some water on his face, he did not calm down.

Gentile said, "Let's calm down.... Let's talk about it, " and tried to get the Minor to accompany him to his office. The Minor said, "No... I'm going to get a knife and gun and I'm going to end this." He said he was going to come back to the school. He went back downstairs and out the front door of the school building. Gentile followed him. Once outside, the Minor walked down A Street and turned south on Third Avenue. Gentile tried to talk him down and said, "Let's go grab a soda." But the Minor merely turned right on C Street and headed west. Gentile continued to follow him, but at the corner of C Street and First Avenue, the Minor suddenly threw down his backpack and rosary and ran off. Gentile could not keep up with him, so he picked up the Minor's discarded belongings and returned to the school, where he locked the entrance door and called the police.

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The school's standard procedure "any time anyone says anything involving a gun or violence" is to lock the school down. Accordingly, the students were called in from lunch and brought inside the locked school for their safety. In the meantime, Gentile waited for the police at the front desk near the entrance door. About 15 minutes from the time Gentile had last seen him, the Minor came to the school's front door and tried to get in, but the door was locked. Gentile went outside to speak with him. The Minor still appeared angry. He said, "Where is he[?] Where is he[?]" Gentile simply told the Minor, ...

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