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Name: In re C.H.
Case #: S183737
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 12/12/2011

Juvenile court lacks authority to commit minor to the Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) for a sex offense not listed in Welfare and Institutions Code section 707, subdivision (b), despite reference to same in section 733, subdivision (c). In January 2006 the minor admitted an allegation in a section 602 petition that he committed a lewd act on a minor (Pen. Code, § 288, subd. (a)). He was initially granted probation but violated the terms of his probation on four separate occasions. At the disposition hearing the court observed that although the minor’s offense was not listed in section 707, subdivision (b), commitment to DJF was necessary to allow the minor to participate in a sex offender program and to separate him from potential future victims. The Court of Appeal affirmed. The Supreme Court reversed. Sections 731, subdivision (a)(4) and 733, subdivision (c), when read together, grant juvenile courts discretion to commit a ward to DJF only if the ward has committed a section 707, subdivision (b) offense and then only if the ward’s most recent offense is either a section 707, subdivision (b) offense or a sex offense listed in Penal Code section 290.008, subdivision (c). Because the minor was never found to have committed a section 707, subdivision (b) offense, the juvenile court lacked authority to commit him to DJF.