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Name: In re M.B. (2024) 99 Cal.App.5th 435
Case #: A166408
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 1 DCA
Division: 3
Opinion Date: 01/31/2024
Summary

The maximum term of confinement of 22-years-to-life set by the juvenile court was unauthorized. The juvenile court committed the minor to a secured youth treatment facility (SYTF) under Welfare and Institutions Code section 875, after he admitted attempted murder and various enhancement allegations. The court stated a baseline term of confinement of four years, pursuant to section 875(b), and set a maximum term of confinement of 22-years-to-life under subdivision (c) of that section. The court also ordered that the minor’s pre-commitment credits be applied against the maximum term of confinement. The minor appealed, arguing that the juvenile court lacked jurisdiction to modify an earlier order setting the maximum term of confinement at four years. He further argued that even if the court had jurisdiction, the maximum term of confinement of 22-years-to-life was unauthorized because the longest term authorized by statute, based on his admitted offense and allegations, was a determinate term of 22 years. Held: Disposition order modified to specify a maximum term of confinement of 22 years. First, the Court of Appeal concluded that, under Welfare and Institutions Code section 775, the juvenile court had authority to modify its prior order. Under that section, a juvenile court may sua sponte reconsider the substance of a previous order the court determines to have been erroneously, inadvertently, or improvidently granted. However, the court agreed with the minor that the 22-years-to-life term was unauthorized. Because the minor admitted committing attempted murder, but did not admit the attempted murder was willful, deliberate, and premeditated, his maximum term of confinement could not exceed 22 years. Nonetheless, the court disagreed with the minor’s contention that remand was necessary for the court to exercise its discretion to set less than the maximum term, as the record reflected the juvenile court had considered the relevant facts and circumstances in setting the term. Finally, the court concluded that equal protection principles do not require the application of the minor’s precommitment credits to the baseline term.