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Name: In re Greg F.
Case #: A127161
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 5
Opinion Date: 02/23/2011
Subsequent History: 6/8/11 rev. granted (S191868)

A juvenile court does not have authority under Welfare and Institutions Code section 782 to dismiss a petition in order to reach back to a previously sustained petition that would allow for commitment to the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Welfare and Institutions Code section 733, subdivision (c) allows commitment to DJJ only when “the most recent offense alleged in any petition and admitted or found to be true by the court is an eligible offense” (i.e., one described in Welf. & Inst. Code, sec. 707, subd. (b)). Welfare and Institution Code section 782 permits the court to dismiss a petition in the interests of justice. In 2008 a petition alleging assault with a deadly weapon, personal infliction of great bodily injury, and a gang enhancement was sustained as to the minor and he was placed on probation. The offense and injury enhancement fell within section 707, subdivision (b). In 2009, the minor admitted a second petition alleging battery and a gang enhancement. At a subsequent hearing, the court granted the prosecution’s motion to dismiss the 2009 petition in the interests of justice, and then committed the minor to DJJ on the 2008 petition. The appellate court reversed, ruling that the trial court lacked authority under section 782 to dismiss the most recent petition in order to reach back to the qualifying petition to commit the minor to DJJ. Doing so undermines the intent of section 733, subdivision (c) to commit the minor to DJJ for any offenses other than the most recent offense. And, under rules of statutory construction, section 733, subdivision (c), being the latter-enacted and more specific provision, controls over the more general section 782. (There is a conflict on this issue: V.C. v. Superior Court (2009) 173 Cal.App.4th 1455 [finding as this court did] and In re J.L. (2008) 168 Cal.App.4th 43 [the court has authority to dismiss if the interests of justice and the welfare of minor require such dismissal].)