In re G.Y., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, G.Y., Defendant and Appellant.
[As modified Mar. 5, 2015.]
Santa Clara County Super. Ct. No. JV18652
[Copyrighted Material Omitted]
Nancy S. Brandt for Defendant and Appellant.
Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Assistant Attorney General, Eric D. Share, Christina vom Saal and Julia Je, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
Appellant G.Y. has appealed from an order denying his petition to seal his juvenile records. Though appellant provided overwhelming evidence of his rehabilitation, the juvenile court properly concluded that it had no authority to seal his juvenile records pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 781. We respectfully invite the Legislature to enact legislation that would remedy this unjust result.
I. Factual and Procedural Background
In November 1998, after appellant was beaten by a group of men in a park, he went to his friend’s house. He and his friend then took the friend’s father’s
handgun and drove to the assailants’ house. Appellant held the gun to a woman’s head and threatened to shoot her unless she summoned the men from inside the house. She did so and two men, who were holding baseball bats, came out of the house. Appellant threatened to shoot one of the men, but he and his friend left.
In November 1998, the District Attorney filed a juvenile wardship petition (§ 602, subd. (a)), which alleged that appellant, who was then 17 years old, committed two counts of assault with a handgun and by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury (Pen. Code, § 245, subd. (a)(1) – counts 1 and 3), two counts of making criminal threats (Pen. Code, § 422 – counts 2 and 4), and one count of possession of a concealable firearm (Pen. Code, former § 12101, subd. (a) – count 5). It was also alleged that appellant personally used a firearm in the commission of counts 1 through 4. (Pen. Code, former § 12022.5, subd. (a)(1), § 1203.06.)
A month later, appellant admitted the allegations that he had committed one count of assault with a handgun with an enhancement for personal use of a firearm, one count of making criminal threats, and one count of possession of a concealable firearm. The remaining counts and allegations were dismissed. The juvenile court declared appellant a ward of the court and committed him to the juvenile ranch facilities for a maximum term of 15 years four months. However, appellant successfully completed the program at the juvenile ranch facilities and was released on probation approximately four months later. He then began working in the family printing business and attending community college.
In November 2013, appellant filed a petition to reduce his prior felony counts to misdemeanors. Appellant submitted several exhibits documenting his accomplishments. In 2006, appellant enlisted in the Army and served on active duty until November 2009. During that period, appellant was promoted to the rank of sergeant and received two Army Commendation Medals for his service in Iraq. Appellant also received numerous other achievement and leadership awards. Appellant provided two letters of recommendation from his commanding officers in the Army and an NCO (non-commissioned officer) evaluation that described his exemplary performance in the Army. After completing his active duty service, appellant enrolled in California State University, East Bay. In December 2012, he obtained his ...