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Name: In re Julian R.
Case #: S159282
Court: CA Supreme Court
District CalSup
Opinion Date: 08/17/2009

A juvenile court need not orally pronounce a minor’s maximum period of confinement; a written statement of the commitment term is sufficient. Further, on a silent record, it will presumed that the juvenile court performed its duty under Welfare and Institutions Code section 731, subdivision (c), to consider the facts and circumstances of the offense in setting the maximum period of confinement. The minor admitted committing two assaults by force likely to produce great bodily injury, and two criminal street gang enhancements. The court initially placed the minor on probation, but later revoked probation and committed the minor to DJJ. The court did not orally impose a confinement period, did not mention the maximum confinement time an adult would face, and omitted discussion about the facts and circumstances of the offense which might warrant a shorter confinement time. But when the court filled out the required pre-printed Judicial Council commitment form, it inserted as the confinement period the term probation reported to be the maximum time an adult convicted of the same offenses would face. The minor argued that the court should have orally stated the max confinement time and that the record did not show the court exercised its discretion under section 731. The Supreme Court rejected both arguments. Neither section 731 nor the Rules of Court direct the juvenile court to orally pronounce the max confinement time. Moreover, applying the settled principle of appellate review that a court is presumed to know and follow the applicable law, on silent record appellant failed to meet the burden of affirmatively showing the court did not properly exercise its discretion. (Disapproving In re Jacob J. (2005) 130 Cal.App.4th 429.)