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In re A.V.

California Court of Appeals, First District, First Division

May 12, 2017

In re A.V., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
v.
A.V., Defendant and Appellant.

         Sonoma County Superior Court No. J-38094 Hon. Kenneth J. Gnoss

          Sidney S. Hollar, under appointment by the Court of Appeal under the First District Appellate Assistant Case System, for Defendant and Appellant

          Kathleen A. Kenealy, Acting Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler and Jeffrey M. Laurence, Assistant Attorneys General, Donna M. Provenzano and Christina Vom Saal, Deputy Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.

          Dondero, J.

         INTRODUCTION

         This case presents a question of statutory interpretation: Whether, under Welfare and Institutions Code section 786, [1]a ward's compliance with his or her probation can be satisfactory for dismissal purposes, and yet unsatisfactory for record-sealing purposes. We hold it cannot. The court has the discretion under section 786 to find the ward has or has not substantially complied with his probation so as to be deemed to have satisfactorily completed it; but if the court finds the ward in substantial compliance so that he or she has satisfactorily completed probation, the court must dismiss the petition and seal the ward's records in accordance with the statute. We remand this matter to the juvenile court for sealing of A.V.'s juvenile records, as specified in section 786.

         INTEGRATED STATEMENT OF THE CASE AND FACTS

         In September 2014, the Sonoma County District Attorney filed a section 602 wardship petition charging minor A.V., age 15, with felony possession of marijuana for sale and misdemeanor possession of concentrated cannabis. (Health & Saf. Code, §§ 11359, 11357, subd. (a).) Three juveniles were caught with hash oil and an electronic vapor cigarette on their high school campus. One of the juveniles told the police he bought them from A.V. When questioned by police, A.V. admitted he sold the items to his classmate. He later admitted to probation he used marijuana regularly.

         A.V. admitted the truth of the allegations with the understanding the court would consider placing him on deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) probation. At disposition, the court placed A.V. on DEJ probation on the conditions, among others, that he complete 150 hours of community service work, write a 1, 000-word essay about the effects of marijuana on the adolescent brain, refrain from using or possessing alcohol or drugs, particularly marijuana, and participate in and complete outpatient substance abuse counseling.

         On March 2, 2015, probation filed a report indicating that A.V. was regularly attending school, passing all of his classes, had zero disciplinary referrals, was actively working towards completion of his community service hours and was attending an alcohol and drug offender class. He had tested negative for intoxicating substances since his review hearing in December 2014.

         Then, on March 4 and 17, probation filed notices of noncompliance, alleging A.V. violated his DEJ probation by using marijuana and cocaine. On March 2, he tested positive for THC and cocaine. He also tested positive for THC on March 18. On April 1, 2015, probation reported that A.V. admitted he had smoked some marijuana he had acquired before he was placed on probation, because he was depressed about a medical diagnosis he had received. He was unsure why he tested positive for cocaine, because he did not use cocaine. His mother confirmed the medical diagnosis and depression. In other respects, A.V. was in compliance with his probation. He had completed the drug and alcohol offender class through California Offender Program Services, had submitted the essay as directed by the court, and had begun Interactive Journaling.

         On April 9, 2015, the court vacated deferred entry of judgment, imposed judgment, declared A.V. a ward of the court, and placed him on juvenile probation on the same and additional conditions of probation, including fines and DNA testing. The court, Judge Hardcastle presiding, stated: “[Y]ou still have an opportunity to successfully complete probation. If you do that, you will then have to petition the court for a sealing of the records at the appropriate time. It won't be done automatically, as it would have been done before. So it's not the end of the world. You still have a chance, as I say, to get it sealed, but that depends on 100 percent compliance.”

         On April 20, 2015, the probation department filed a notice of probation violation (§ 777) alleging that A.V. used marijuana and violated his 7:00 p.m. curfew and the terms of his community detention, by testing positive for marijuana on April 9, 2015, and leaving his house in the middle of the night while on community detention. This resulted in A.V.'s first experience in juvenile hall, where he had no negative behavioral reports and excelled in sports activities. A.V. attributed his marijuana use to stress and the influence of his current peer group, from which he intended to disassociate himself. Due to A.V.'s “record of successfully completing probation programs, excellent reports from his school, and his family support network, ” the probation department's screening committee unanimously agreed that home removal would not be appropriate at this time.

         On April 21, 2015, A.V. admitted a probation violation. On May 5, 2015, the juvenile court reinstated probation on the same and additional terms and conditions, including that A.V. spend 30 to 45 days in juvenile hall.

         On October 19, 2015, the probation department filed a notice of probation violation (§ 777) alleging that A.V. used marijuana on October 12 and was cited by police for possessing marijuana on school grounds on October ...


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