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Name: In re Damian M.
Case #: D055552
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 05/27/2010

The court does not abuse its discretion in denying deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) to an otherwise eligible minor if it determines that the level of criminal sophistication involved in the offense is such that the minor requires more intensive supervision. The minor was arrested at the California/Mexico border, attempting to smuggle 10.1 pounds of marijuana in his car into the U.S. The court denied his request for DEJ, despite the probation officer recommending the program. The trial court based its decision on the level of criminal sophistication involved in the offense. The appellate court affirmed, noting that Welfare and Institutions Code section 791, subdivision (b) empowers the court to grant DEJ to an eligible minor but does not mandate it if the court determines that the minor will not benefit from the less restrictive treatment provided under DEJ. Here, the judge weighed all the factors and reasonably concluded that minor had engaged in sophisticated organized criminal activity that required more intensive treatment than that offered through DEJ. The court also found that an imposed condition of probation requiring minor’s parents to participate in minor’s school program, as authorized by the school, was not an abuse of discretion as it was authorized by Welfare and Institutions Code 729.2, subdivision (b) and would aid in minor’s rehabilitation.