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Name: In re H.D.
Case #: H033462
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/03/2009

Remand was required to determine whether the juvenile court understood its discretion to impose less than the maximum term of confinement. The minor entered into a negotiated plea disposition and admitted the charges against him. The court orally set the maximum confinement time at DJF at 11 years, 8 months. The clerk’s transcript reflects a maximum term of 12 years, 8 months. At a subsequent hearing regarding the discrepancy, the court stated that the appropriate term was 11 years, 8 months, but the maximum term was 12 years, 8 months. The appellate court found that the record strongly suggested that the court understood its discretion to set the maximum confinement at something less than the maximum term that could be imposed on an adult. The record was then “muddled” by the subsequent hearing, which suggested that it did not understand its discretion to choose a term other than the maximum term. On the record, it was unclear whether the juvenile court intended to fix the term at 12 years, 8 months, or something less, and whether it understood that it had the discretion to impose a maximum term other than the lower or middle term. Therefore, reversal and remand was required for further proceedings on disposition.