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Name: In re J.S.
Case #: H040779
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 6 DCA
Opinion Date: 06/04/2015

Following Juvenile Parole Realignment (Realignment), no entity is authorized to make an honorable discharge finding after a juvenile completes his commitment to the Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) and is released for local supervision. After being committed to DJJ by the juvenile court in 2010, J.S. successfully completed his program and was released in 2013. He was placed on locally supervised probation instead of DJJ parole, because the latter had been eliminated by Realignment. J.S. filed a motion requesting that the juvenile court make a finding of honorable discharge since DJJ no longer makes discharge recommendations after Realignment. The court denied the motion, finding that the court was not authorized to make an honorable discharge determination. J.S. appealed. Held: Affirmed. The goal of the October 2010 Realignment legislation was to eliminate DJJ parole by 2014, transferring all aspects of youth supervision to the county. Prior to Realignment, once a youth completed his commitment at DJJ and parole period, the Board of Parole Hearings determined whether to give the youth an honorable discharge, which releases the youth from all penalties and disabilities resulting from the commitment offense. (Welf. & Inst. Code, §§ 1177, 1172, subd. (a).) Realignment did not repeal or amend sections 1177 or 1772 to make them consistent with the new local supervision procedures. Under current law, there is no other entity authorized to make the honorable discharge finding. Here, the Court of Appeal concluded that the Legislature must harmonize this conflict, not the courts. A youth is not entirely deprived of the benefit of section 1772, subdivision (a), however, because he can still petition the juvenile court to exercise its discretion to set aside the guilty verdict and dismiss the accusation, which shall then release the youth from penalties and disabilities.