Juvenile court did not abuse its discretion by committing the minor, who had a long criminal history and had previously received less restrictive placements, to the Department of Corrections, Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). The minor had a lengthy history with the juvenile justice system. His latest Welfare and Institutions Code section 602 petition was based on a sustained allegation of robbery. At a contested disposition hearing the juvenile court ordered placement at DJJ. The minor appealed, arguing there was no substantial evidence of probable benefit from the DJJ commitment or that less restrictive alternatives would be ineffective or inappropriate. Held: Affirmed. The purposes of the juvenile system include the protection of the public as well as the rehabilitation of the minor. A DJJ commitment is not an abuse of discretion where the evidence shows a probable benefit to the minor from the commitment and that less restrictive alternatives would be inadequate. Here, the court evaluated the DJJ services available to the minor and found they would be of probable benefit to him. There was substantial evidence that, during the minor’s history with the juvenile system, a number of less restrictive placements had been tried and failed to rehabilitate him. This provided ample evidence that a significant change was needed before the minor, who was 18 years old at disposition, faced the adult correctional system.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/D072389.PDF