California Court of Appeals, Second District, Sixth Division
In re R.C., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent,
R.C., Defendant and Appellant.
Superior Court County of Ventura No. 2018028124 Kevin J.
W. Howeth, Public Defender, Michael C. McMahon, Sr. Deputy
Public Defender for Defendant and Appellant.
Becerra, Attorney General, Lance E. Winters, Assistant
Attorney General, Paul M. Roadarmel, Jr., Supervising Deputy
Attorney General, Stacy S. Schwartz, David Glassman, Deputy
Attorneys General, for Plaintiff and Respondent.
attempt to commit armed robbery is extremely dangerous.
Appellant is lucky he was not shot to death by the store
clerk who resisted his attempt to commit this offense. He
would not have been the first attempted robbery culprit to
meet this fate. He appeals from the judgment entered after
the juvenile court sustained a juvenile delinquency petition
(Welf. & Inst. Code, § 602) for assault with force
likely to produce great bodily injury (Pen. Code, § 245,
subd. (a)(4)) and attempted second degree robbery (Pen. Code,
§§ 664/221). The juvenile court placed appellant on
probation with electronic monitoring and ordered restitution.
and Procedural History
a.m. in the morning of August 14, 2018, 14-year-old appellant
and 15-year-old E.B. entered a 7-11 store to commit an armed
robbery. A lookout was posted outside the store. Appellant
wore a black hoodie and ski mask, and brandished a black
metal BB pistol. E.B. wielded a silver metal BB pistol.
Appellant “slammed” a bag on the counter and
ordered the clerk to put the money in the bag. The clerk
resisted, wrestling the BB gun from appellant. E.B.
intervened and pistol-whipped the clerk allowing them to
flee. The crimes were filmed on the store surveillance video.
adjudication hearing, appellant admitted that he brandished
the BB gun to scare the clerk “into putting the money
into the bag.” He claimed E.B.'s assault on the
clerk was unintended. His attorney argued that “the
aiding and abetting standard should... be revised for
juveniles to... recognize the developmental differences
between the adult brain and the adolescent brain.” This
theory was/is based upon a law review article, “Kids
Will be Kids: Time for a ‘Reasonable Child'
Standard for the Proof of Objective Mens Rea Elements.”
(Northop & Rozen, 69 Me. L.Rev. 109 (2017).) The fair
import of this law review article is as follows: “Based
on the goals of the juvenile system, significant advances in
adolescent development research and recent Supreme Court
holdings on juvenile culpability, we argue here that the
juvenile code should be amended to explicitly refer to a
reasonable child standard for any mens rea element that
relies on a reasonable person as the measure for criminal
culpability.” (Id. at p. 112, italics
sustaining the petition, the trial court stated “I
don't think the brain science argument really pertains to
the issues of legal liability so much as it does to [the]
appropriate disposition in the case. [¶] It's clear
that the three persons involved in this event all were fairly
well involved in what was going to happen. They all had their
roles to play: the lookout, the two people that went into the
store with masks and simulated firearms.... [I]t was a fairly
well planned out event. And the fact that it went in a
direction that maybe they didn't anticipate when the
clerk decided to resist... does not in the Court's view
amount to any kind of due process violation to apply the
normal princip[les] of accomplice liability under these
and Probable Consequences Doctrine
the natural and probable consequences doctrine, an aider and
abettor is guilty not only of the intended target (here
robbery) offense, but also of any other offense that was a
“‘natural and probable consequence'” of
the crime aided and abetted. (People v. Prettyman
(1996) 14 Cal.4th 248, 260 (Prettyman); see
In re Eduardo M. (2006) 140 Cal.App.4th 1351,
1358-1359 [applying general principles of aider and abettor
liability to juveniles].) “The inquiry does not depend
on whether the aider and abettor actually foresaw the
nontarget offense, ” but rather on whether that outcome
was objectively likely or foreseeable. (People v.
Chiu (2014) 59 Cal.4th 155, 161-162 (Chiu).)
doctrine is based upon an objective standard. (People v.
Nguyen (1993) 21 Cal.App.4th 518, 531
(Nguyen).) “‘Because the nontarget
offense is unintended, the mens rea of the aider and abettor
with respect to that offense is irrelevant and culpability is
imposed simply because a reasonable person could have
foreseen the commission of the nontarget crime.'
[Citation.]” (Chiu, supra, 59 Cal.4th
at p. 164.)
and E.B. armed and disguised themselves, and entered the
store to commit a robbery. When the store clerk tried to
disarm appellant, E.B. pistol-whipped the clerk and fled with
appellant. It was foreseeable that E.B. would use the pistol
as a weapon. Why else would he bring it to the scene of the
crime? Substantial evidence supports the finding that
E.B.'s assault was a natural and probable consequence of
the armed robbery. (Prettyman, supra, 14
Cal.4th at pp. 262-263.) Appellant's liability as an
aider and abettor of the assault was based on his joint
participation in an extremely dangerous situation that he
helped create. (See, e.g., In re Gary F.
(2014) 226 Cal.App.4th 1076, 1080 [aider and abettor
liability based on presence at the scene of the crime,
companionship with principal actor, conduct before and after
the offense, and flight]; In re Lynette G. (1976) 54
Cal.App.3d 1087, 1094-1095 [same].)
People v. Fagalilo (1981) 123 Cal.App.3d 524,
defendant and three codefendants entered a Thrifty Drug Store
to commit a robbery. Defendant reached for the money in the
cash register but the cashier pushed him away. When the
assistant manager tried to assist the cashier, one of the
codefendants threw a bottle of wine at the assistant manager.
He “ducked” but two customers were hit by the
bottle and broken glass. (Id. at p. 528.) The Court
of Appeal held that “[t]he evidence was... sufficient
to establish [defendant's] liability as an aider and
abetter of [co-defendant's] assault. The defendants
entered the store together and escaped together. The jury
could reasonably infer ...