Minors commitment to the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) was appropriate where juvenile court found less restrictive placements would be ineffective. The minor and another minor, G.K., were charged with committing a number of serious sexual offenses against an intoxicated woman. N.C. was adjudged a ward of the court and committed to DJJ. The minor appealed the commitment. Held: Affirmed. Rehabilitation is one of the primary objectives of juvenile court law. As such, it contemplates a progressively more restrictive and punitive series of dispositions, starting with home placement under supervision, progressing to foster care, then placement in a local treatment facility, and finally, a commitment to DJJ. Another objective of the juvenile court law is to protect the public safety. Therefore, there is no absolute rule that a DJJ commitment is appropriate only after other less restrictive placements have been tried and failed, as it may be deemed necessary to protect public safety. To support a DJJ commitment there must be evidence supporting the court’s determination that less restrictive alternatives are inappropriate and the commitment will have a probable benefit to the ward. In this case, there was evidence that an available DJJ program that treats juvenile sex offenders would benefit the minor. With respect to public safety, the juvenile court considered the gravity of the offenses and the manner in which they were committed. The juvenile court also considered less restrictive alternatives and found they would be ineffective. There was no abuse of discretion.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/archive/A154725.PDF