California Court of Appeals, Second District, Sixth Division
In re A.C., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
A.C., Defendant and Appellant.
Superior Court County of Los Angeles Super. Ct. No. PJ52736
Fred J. Fujioka, Judge
Peters, under appointment by the Court of Appeal, for
Defendant and Appellant.
Becerra, Attorney General, Gerald A. Engler, Chief Assistant
Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Assistant Attorney
General, Zee Rodriguez, Paul S. Thies, Deputy Attorneys
General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
GILBERT, P. J.
ward of the juvenile court, made statements to an in-home
counselor who interpreted them as threats. The juvenile court
sustained a Welfare and Institutions Code section 602
petition and found that A.C. violated his conditions of
probation by making criminal threats. (Pen. Code, § 422,
subd. (a).) A.C. appeals.
conclude that statements A.C. made to a counselor are
admissible because they do not fall within the
psychotherapist-patient privilege. (Evid. Code, § 1014.)
We also conclude A.C.'s statements do not violate his
conditions of probation. We reverse.
sustaining a Welfare and Institutions Code section 602
petition, the juvenile court placed A.C. home on probation.
Probation condition 6 provided, “You must not
unlawfully threaten, hit, fight with, or use physical force
on any person.” Probation condition 14 provided,
“You must not have, possess or act like you possess an
object you know is a dangerous or deadly weapon. You must not
knowingly have or possess a replica gun.”
months later, the People filed a notice of violation of
probation, alleging, among other things, that A.C.: 1)
“threatened his peers at school, ” 2) may be in
danger of hurting himself, 3) is not on medication, and 4)
has not seen a psychiatrist. The People requested A.C. be
detained pending a hearing on the violation of his probation
hearing, Ana Burgos, a “child and family
counselor” with “Family Preservation, ”
testified she was the “in-home counselor assigned to
[A.C.'s] family.” She did not provide
“one-on-one therapy sessions.” She only assessed
the needs of the family and “provid[ed] linkages”
so the family and A.C. could receive mental health services.
counsel objected, claiming Burgos's testimony was
inadmissible because it would reveal A.C.'s statements
that are protected by the psychotherapist-patient privilege.
The juvenile court ruled the objection was premature. It
said, “[Y]ou're required to assert the privilege
every time you feel the privilege has been violated. [Y]ou
need to do it at the specific point when the privilege needs
to be invoked.”
testified that prior to sessions with minors she advises them
that their statements “will be private except if [she]
hear[s] that the life of a child or anybody else is in
danger.” The prosecutor asked whether any of A.C.'s
statements fell within this exception. A.C.'s counsel
objected on the grounds of privilege. The juvenile court
overruled the objection.
testified that A.C. told her that he did not want to go to
school. Some students “were bullying him.” A.C.
said if he went to school, “and the kids teased him, he
was going to react”; he was going to “basically
stab them with whatever he had available”; and he
“was serious about it.” He referred to two
students, but he did not give Burgos their names. His mother
was present when he made the statements. Burgos contacted her
supervisor to report A.C.'s statements. A psychiatric
emergency team was dispatched and came to the residence. A.C.
was interviewed and was eventually admitted to a hospital.
juvenile court found A.C. violated probation conditions 6 and
14. It said Burgos's actions in reporting A.C.'s