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Name: In re J.G.
Case #: C077056
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 01/24/2017
Summary

When a minor is granted deferred entry of judgment (DEJ) and the wardship petition is later dismissed, the juvenile court still has authority to convert unfulfilled restitution order to a civil judgment. J.G., a minor, admitted allegations of felony vandalism and trespass. In lieu of adjudging J.G. a ward of the court, the juvenile court granted DEJ under Welfare and Institution Code section 790, placed J.G. on probation, and set victim restitution as a condition of probation. J.G. eventually satisfied the terms and conditions of his probation, except for the payment of victim restitution. The juvenile court terminated J.G.’s probation, dismissed the wardship petition, and converted the restitution order to a civil judgment. J.G. appealed, arguing that a juvenile court may convert a restitution order to a civil judgment only if it has adjudged the minor a ward of the court. Held: Affirmed. Welfare and Institution Code section 730.6 generally provides for payment of victim restitution in juvenile delinquency cases and subdivision (i) authorizes a juvenile court to convert a restitution order to a civil judgment. Section 742.16, subdivision (a) authorizes restitution in cases involving vandalism. Broadly construing these sections to effectuate the purposes of victim restitution statutes, the Court of Appeal concluded that “a juvenile court has the authority to convert an unfulfilled restitution order to a civil judgment when it terminates a minor’s DEJ probation and dismisses the wardship petition” without adjudging the minor a ward of the court. The restitution provisions of sections 730.6 and 742.16 apply to DEJ cases through section 794, which expressly states that a minor may be required “to pay restitution to the victim or victims pursuant to the provisions of this code.” The court distinguished In re K.C. (2013) 220 Cal.App.4th 465 on the ground that K.C. involved informal supervision under section 654.2 rather than a grant of DEJ under sections 790 et seq.

The juvenile court’s order terminating probation, dismissing the wardship petition, and converting the restitution order to a civil judgment, is an appealable judgment within the meaning of Welfare and Institution Code section 800, subdivision (a). Section 800, subdivision (a) provides that “a judgment in a proceeding under Section 601 or 602 may be appealed from, by the minor, in the same manner as any final judgment.” Generally, a “judgment” is the final determination of rights of the parties in an action or proceeding. When the juvenile court entered the order terminating J.G.’s probation, dismissing the wardship petition, and converting the restitution order into a civil judgment, no further action was contemplated by the juvenile court. Thus, the order constitutes the final determination of the right of the parties in the wardship proceeding and the court has jurisdiction to consider J.G.’s appeal. The court distinguished In re Mario C. (2004) 124 Cal.App.4th 1303 and In re T.C. (2012) 210 Cal.App.4th 1430, where the Sixth District Court of Appeal held that an order granting DEJ is not appealable. Unlike in Mario C. and T.C., J.G. did not appeal an order granting DEJ.

The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: http://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/C077056.PDF