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Name: In re Henry S.
Case #: F048791
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 5 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/08/2006

The minor was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident and evading a police officer. The prosecutor filed a juvenile wardship petition under section 602, and minor’s counsel requested a joint assessment report and a contested hearing pursuant to Welfare and Institutions Code section 241.1 to determine whether the minor should be treated as a delinquent child or dependent child under section 300. The juvenile court denied the minor’s motion to present witnesses and evidence at the contested hearing. The juvenile court found it appropriate to treat the minor as a section 600 ward, and the minor entered a no contest plea, reserving the right to appeal the court’s ruling denying him the right to present evidence and cross-examine witnesses at the section 241.1 hearing. On appeal, the minor argued that his federal due process rights had been violated. The appellate court held that the order was appealable, and affirmed the judgment. The juvenile court is not required to set a hearing on the section 241.1 determination, but may do so if requested. However, the determination under section 241.1 is not a finding of delinquency or a commitment order and does not require a full evidentiary hearing. Here, the court permitted argument by the attorneys, and further allowed the minor to submit his own psych evaluation. The juvenile court acted within its discretion in denying the minor’s motion to present additional evidence and cross-examine the authors of the section 241.1 report.