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Name: In re Jose T.
Case #: A128020
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 4
Opinion Date: 12/20/2010

Before the juvenile court can impose a stayed DJJ commitment, the court must find that the previous disposition was ineffective in rehabilitating the minor and that the commitment will benefit him. The lifting of a stayed commitment cannot be automatic. The minor violated his probation by leaving his placement. A supplemental report recommended the current placement be continued because, except for that violation, the minor had been doing well in his placement. The court was going to continue the minor on probation until the prosecutor reminded the court that it had previously imposed but suspended a DJJ commitment. Consequently, the court lifted the stay on the suspended commitment. Appellant complained that automatic imposition of a suspended DJJ commitment without consideration of less restrictive placements or the benefit to him was an abuse of discretion. The Court of Appeal agreed. A juvenile court disposition may not be predetermined by imposition of a stayed commitment because the juvenile court is required to reassess dispositional issues in light of the current circumstances. (See In re Ronnie P. (1992) 10 Cal.App.4th 1079, criticized on other grounds.) This case is factually indistinguishable from Ronnie P. Further, the procedural changes to Welfare and Institutions Code section 777 made by Prop. 21 did nothing to change the requirement of individualized consideration. (John L. v. Superior Court (2004) 35 Cal.4th 158.) In this case, while the juvenile court perfunctorily recited the statutory requirements for a DJJ commitment, it did not actually reassess the disposition in light of the current circumstances. The court remanded for a new dispositional hearing.