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Name: In re I.S.
Case #: A147004
District 1 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 12/08/2016

A juvenile court that accepts transfer of an entire delinquency case from another county has the power to rule on a Proposition 47 petition to recall the disposition made by the transferor county. I.S. pleaded no contest to felony theft in Contra Costa County Juvenile Court. After his family moved, I.S. filed a Proposition 47 petition in the San Francisco Juvenile Court to reduce his felony theft offense to misdemeanor larceny. The petition was denied without prejudice on the ground that only the Contra Costa court had jurisdiction to act on I.S.’s petition. He appealed. Held: Reversed. Welfare and Institutions Code section 750 provides that when the person who would be entitled to custody of a juvenile moves to another county, “the entire case may be transferred” to the juvenile court in the county where the person having custody resides. Meanwhile, Proposition 47, which reclassified certain felonies as misdemeanors, provides that a qualifying offender “may petition for a recall of sentence before the trial court that entered the judgment of conviction.” (Pen. Code § 1170.18, subd. (a).) Analogizing to People v. Adelmann (2016) 2 Cal.App.5th 1188, review granted 11/9/2016 (S237602), which considered the jurisdictional interplay between Proposition 47 and a statute providing for transfer of adult probation cases to the county in which the probationer takes up permanent residence, the court concluded that the transferee juvenile court has jurisdiction to entertain a petition for recall. Like the transfer statute at issue in Adelmann, which provided that the receiving court shall have “entire jurisdiction over the case,” section 750 contains jurisdictional language permitting “the entire case” to be transferred. Section 1170.18 is silent on the issue of jurisdiction, and the Court of Appeal disagreed with the Attorney General’s argument that Proposition 47 implicitly effected an exception to these jurisdictional transfer statutes.

Portion of weapon-related probation condition that prohibited minor from possessing “anything that looks like a weapon” is not vague and the condition does not need to include a scienter requirement. When I.S.’s case was transferred to San Francisco, the juvenile court re-declared him a ward and reimposed probation conditions. One condition prohibited I.S. from possessing deadly and dangerous weapons, including anything that looked like a weapon, replicas, toys, and fakes, and specified items the court considered dangerous and deadly weapons. On appeal, I.S. argued that a portion of the condition that prohibited him from possessing “anything that looks like a weapon” was vague. He also argued that a scienter requirement should be added because some parts of the condition could be improperly applied to nondangerous, nondeadly weapons. The Court of Appeal disagreed. When interpreting a probation condition, the court relies on context and common sense. Although the juvenile court did not use the modifying phrase “deadly or dangerous” with every part of the condition, its repetition of the phrase and the examples given indicated that the condition reasonably encompasses only dangerous or deadly weapons and their replicas, and therefore gave I.S. fair notice of what items were prohibited. Because the phrase “deadly or dangerous” has an established meaning, which includes an intent requirement, there is no need for the condition to have an explicit intent requirement. The court declined to follow In re Kevin R. (2015) 239 Cal.App.4th 351, 366 to the extent it requires an express intent. Furthermore, because a probationer’s violation cannot be based on “unwitting” noncompliance with his probations conditions, it is unnecessary to modify the condition to prohibit “knowing” possession of dangerous or deadly weapons. [Editor’s Note: Similar issues are pending in the California Supreme Court in People v. Hall (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 1124, review granted 9/9/2015 (S227193/A141278).]

Portion of weapon-related probation condition that prohibited minor from possessing “anything that can be considered by someone else to be a weapon” is unconstitutionally vague. I.S. also argued that another portion of the probation condition that prohibited him from possessing “anything that can be considered by someone else to be a weapon” was vague. The court agreed. A minor cannot fairly be expected to avoid all items that another person might consider to be a deadly or dangerous weapon and numerous courts have sustained vagueness challenges where the probation condition fails to specify that the probationer know an item falls within the prohibited category. The court modified the probation condition to remove this phrase.

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