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Name: In re D.B.
Case #: A149815
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 06/04/2018

Minor’s challenge to juvenile court’s recommendations for payment of legal services rejected where the record does not reflect orders for payment and, based on a 2017 change in the law, no such orders may issue in the future. D.B. admitted an allegation in a juvenile delinquency petition that he brought a knife to school (Pen. Code, § 626.10, subd. (a)). The juvenile court declared D.B. a ward and placed him on probation. The prosecution filed subsequent petitions for drug use and the minor was continued a ward. On appeal he challenged two dispositional orders that included recommendations that appeared to require his parents to reimburse the county for his legal fees. Held: Orders modified to clarify that they do not require D.B.’s parents to reimburse the county for his legal fees. In 2016, Welfare and Institutions Code section 903.1, subdivision (a) made a parent liable for costs that a county incurred in rendering legal services to the parents’ child pursuant to an order of the juvenile court. However, there were specific procedural prerequisites to such an order (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 903.45, subd. (b)), which did not occur in this case. Here, there was no indication the court ever ordered the minor’s parents to pay for the costs of his legal defense. The written orders simply provided preliminary findings regarding the costs of legal services for two hearings as an estimate of the amount the parents might be obligated to pay. In any event, Senate Bill No. 190, effective January 1, 2018, amended sections 903.1 and 903.45 to repeal the provision requiring a parent to pay for legal services provided to a minor who is subject to the juvenile delinquency system. Because the statute was repealed without a savings clause while the minor’s case was pending, no order for reimbursement of legal costs may be made in future proceedings.

The juvenile court did not err in issuing written dispositional orders that included conditions that were not orally imposed at the dispositional hearing. D.B. also challenged the reimbursement conditions in the written dispositional orders because the juvenile court did not include the conditions in its oral pronouncements. D.B. argued there was a conflict between the reporter’s transcript with the oral pronouncement, and the clerk’s transcript with the written orders, and that greater credence should be given to the reporter’s transcript. The Court of Appeal disagreed. If there is a conflict in the record, the court will not automatically defer to the reporter’s transcript but will adopt the transcript that should be given credence under the circumstances of the particular case. Although the oral pronouncement of a judgment has been given greater credence than a judgment as entered in the minutes (which is a purely clerical function), this case is distinguishable. The asserted conflict in this case was between the conditions of probation that the juvenile court orally imposed and the conditions of probation that the judge approved in its later written orders. The entry of the written orders, which were signed by the juvenile court judge, were not a ministerial, clerical act. Instead, the record indicates that the juvenile court modified its orders imposing probation conditions, which it had authority to do.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: