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Name: In re D.B.
Case #: S207165
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 04/03/2014
Summary

Minor who committed a series of violent acts may not be committed to Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) where his most recent charged offense was nonviolent. The juvenile court sustained a wardship petition charging the minor with a number of violent offenses, including robbery, carjacking, and battery with serious bodily injury. The most recent offense charged in the petition was resisting arrest and giving false identification to police. The juvenile court committed the minor to DJF for 11 years, 8 months. The Court of Appeal reversed, finding a DJF commitment prohibited because the juvenile’s most recently committed offense was nonviolent. Review was granted. Held: Affirmed. Welfare and Institutions Code section 733, subdivision (c) prohibits a DJF commitment unless the most recent offense committed and found true is listed in Welfare and Institutions Code section 707, subdivision (b) or Penal Code section 290.008, subdivision (c). The language of section 733 is clear and unambiguous. When a juvenile court sustains a petition alleging both violent and nonviolent offenses, “a DJF commitment is prohibited if the last adjudicated offense happened to be nonviolent.” Although this interpretation may result in rewarding a minor for committing more crimes and result in violent offenders being housed in local settings with nonviolent juveniles, these consequences are not so absurd that it requires the court to override the plain meaning of the statute. The Legislature’s purpose in enacting the law was to reduce the number of juvenile offenders in state facilities. Decisions regarding the manner in which to limit DJF commitments are for the Legislature to make.