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In re D.W.

California Court of Appeals, First District, Fourth Division

April 28, 2015

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

Contra Costa County Superior Court No. J1000763 Hon. George V. Spanos, Judge.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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COUNSEL

Leila H. Moncharsh, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for Defendant and Appellant.

Kamala D. Harris, Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant Attorney General, and Eric D. Share, Deputy Attorney General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

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OPINION

RUVOLO, P. J.

I.

INTRODUCTION

D.W. appeals from an order continuing him as a ward of the court. (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 602.) He contends that the juvenile court violated his constitutional right to due process by permitting an amendment to the wardship petition during a contested jurisdiction hearing which added a charge that D.W. committed a battery with injury on a peace officer while he was detained at juvenile hall. (Pen. Code, §§ 242, 243, subd. (c)(2).)[1] D.W. also contends there is insufficient evidence to support the court’s finding that he committed that offense.

As we will explain, the amendment to the wardship petition did not violate D.W.’s due process rights, but the record does not contain substantial evidence that the battery D.W. committed caused an injury as that term is defined by the pertinent statute. (§ 243, subd. (f)(5).) Therefore, we will modify the appealed order to reflect that D.W. committed a battery against a peace officer. (§ 243, subd. (b).)

II.

STATEMENT OF FACTS

A. Background

In May 2010, the Contra Costa County District Attorney filed an original wardship petition charging 13-year-old D.W. with misdemeanor battery on a school employee and two counts of making criminal threats. That November, D.W. was adjudged a ward of the court after he admitted the battery in exchange for dismissal of the threat charges. The court ordered probation and placed D.W. in a group home. In 2011 and 2012, D.W. committed several probation violations necessitating new placements and was also the subject of a Stanislaus County wardship petition charging him with vehicle theft and driving without a license.

In January 2013, the juvenile court ordered that D.W. be screened for the Youth Offender Treatment Program (YOTP). In April, the court filed a disposition order placing D.W. in YOTP for a period not to exceed two years 244 days, or until age 21, whichever occurred first. This court affirmed the YOTP placement order in an unpublished decision filed on September 30, 2013. (In re D.W. (Sept. 30, 2013, A138467) [nonpub.opn.].)

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B. The Second Supplemental Petition

Meanwhile, in May 2013, the Contra Costa County District Attorney filed an amended second supplemental petition against D.W. Count one of the petition alleged that D.W.’s adoptive parents were unable to accept responsibility for housing and raising him, a fact D.W. had previously admitted. However, the District Attorney added two new charges arising out of an incident that occurred on February 12, 2013, while D.W. was detained at juvenile hall. Count two of the amended second supplemental petition charged D.W. with felony battery by gassing on the person of Robert Dutra, an employee of the juvenile hall detention facility, in violation of section 243.9.[2] Count three charged D.W. with felony possession of a dirk or dagger in violation of section 21310.[3]

A contested jurisdiction hearing on the amended second supplemental petition was set for September 23, 2013. At the beginning of that hearing, the juvenile court took judicial notice of a February 2013 order detaining D.W. at juvenile hall pending disposition of the first supplemental petition (which resulted in the YOTP placement). The People then requested that the court take judicial notice that juvenile hall is a “local detention facility” within the meaning of section 243.9. However, D.W. objected to that request, arguing that the nature of the facility was an element of the offense of battery by gassing, which the People had to prove. After lengthy discussion, the court denied the request for judicial notice and advised the parties that its “inclination” was to dismiss the section 243.9 charge because the People would not be able to prove that juvenile hall is a local detention facility “based on the definition in the Penal Code.” Instead though, the court continued the hearing so the parties could brief the issue. The contested jurisdiction hearing was continued to October 21, 2013.

On October 3, 2013, the People filed a motion for permission to file a second amended second supplemental petition which added another charge arising out of the February 12 incident. The additional charge was for

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committing a felony battery with injury on a peace officer in violation of section 243, subdivision (c).[4]

At the October 21 continued hearing, the People conceded that section 243.9 “defines local detention facility as only an adult facility” and moved to dismiss the count charging D.W. with committing a battery by gassing. The juvenile court granted the motion to dismiss and then turned its attention to the motion to amend the second supplemental petition to charge D.W. with committing a battery with injury against a peace officer. The defense objected on two grounds. First, it argued the amendment would violate double jeopardy because the trial had already commenced. Second, D.W. argued ...


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