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Name: In re J.P. (2023) 94 Cal.App.5th 74
Case #: E080284
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 08/03/2023

Welfare and Institutions Code section 782 gives the juvenile court discretion to strike individual counts in a 602 petition to change the “most recent” offense into one that is SYTF eligible. The district attorney filed a 602 petition against J.P. alleging second degree robbery, assault with a firearm, and carrying a loaded firearm not registered to him in a vehicle. At a contested jurisdictional hearing, the court found all three allegations true. At disposition, the district attorney moved to strike the gun possession offense in order to make the counts of second degree robbery and assault with a firearm (both listed under Welfare and Institutions Code section 707(b)), the most recent offenses. The court granted the motion and committed J.P. to SYTF (Secured Youth Treatment Facility). On appeal, J.P. argued the juvenile court erred because it could dismiss the entire petition, but not one portion of it. Held: Affirmed. Under Welfare and Institutions Code section 875, a court may order a minor 14 years or older to be committed to SYTF if the minor is adjudged a ward based on a 707(b) offense, and that offense is the “most recent” offense for which the minor is adjudicated. Here, based on all three offenses, J.P. could not be committed to SYTF because his most recent offense–the gun possession offense–was not a 707(b) offense and thus did not qualify him for a commitment. The Court of Appeal analyzed section 782 (which addresses dismissal of a 602 petition) and relevant case law and concluded a court may dismiss individual counts in a petition to change the most recent offense into one that is SYTF eligible. The court’s dismissal power under section 782 is analogous to Penal Code section 1385, permitting a judge to dismiss not only an entire case, but also a part thereof. Thus, the court did not err in dismissing J.P.’s third offense and committing him to SYTF.