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Name: In re Miguel R. (2024) 100 Cal.App.5th 152
Case #: E082250
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 03/01/2024

Assembly Bill No. 2361’s recent amendments to Welfare and Institutions Code section 707 do not require that any one factor be given greater weight than others in determining whether the minor is amenable to rehabilitation. In 2019, a juvenile wardship petition alleged that M.R. committed murder and other offenses when he was 17 years old. In 2023, following a remand from the Court of Appeal, the juvenile court considered recent amendments to section 707 and again transferred M.R. to criminal court, finding four of five section 707 factors weighed in favor of the transfer, but that there was insufficient evidence to determine whether M.R. could be rehabilitated prior to the expiration of the court’s jurisdiction. M.R. appealed. Held: Affirmed. Section 707 sets forth procedures for transferring a minor from juvenile court to criminal court. Effective January 1, 2023, transfer to criminal court requires the juvenile court to find by clear and convincing evidence that the minor is not amendable to rehabilitation while under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court. In making this determination, the court is now required to consider five statutory criteria and “shall give weight to any relevant factor.” On appeal, M.R. argued that the second statutory criterion—whether the minor can be rehabilitated prior to the expiration of the juvenile court’s jurisdiction (§ 707(a)(3)(B)(i))—was more important than the other statutory factors. The court disagreed, concluding section 707 says nothing about the relative weights to be given to any of the criteria. (§ 707(a)(3).) Moreover, the ultimate determination of a minor’s amenability to rehabilitation differs from the criterion of whether the minor can be rehabilitated prior to the expiration of the juvenile court’s jurisdiction, which is temporal in nature and focuses on whether there is enough time to rehabilitate the minor while the minor is still eligible to remain under juvenile court jurisdiction. Because the juvenile court was not required to give greater weight to the second criterion or to deny the transfer motion if that criterion did not weigh in favor of transfer, the court upheld the transfer order. [Editor’s Note: The Court of Appeal further held that “although the current version of section 707 is the only version expressly requiring consideration of the minor’s history of involvement in the child welfare or foster care system, human trafficking, sexual abuse, or sexual battery, and prior versions of the statute did not contain that express requirement, evidence of any such history was nonetheless relevant under prior versions of the statute.”]