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Name: In re P.A.
Case #: E053608
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 2
Opinion Date: 11/15/2012
Summary

The juvenile court correctly declined to make any statement regarding the minor’s maximum term of confinement when it continued the minor in his parents’ custody at the disposition hearing; the court’s statements at the jurisdiction hearing regarding the maximum term of confinement do not need to be stricken. At a contested jurisdiction hearing, the juvenile court found true allegations that the minor violated Penal Code sections 69 and 148, subdivision (a)(1) and stated the maximum period of confinement. At the disposition hearing, the court did not remove the minor from his parents’ custody and did not make any statement regarding the maximum term of confinement. On appeal, the minor requested the Court of Appeal to order the improper statements regarding the maximum term of confinement stricken. The court found no error as to the statement made at the jurisdiction hearing. While a juvenile court has no discretion to set a maximum term of confinement in a dispositional order when the minor is not removed from his parents’ custody and the court may direct such a statement be stricken, the juvenile court here did not mention the maximum term of confinement at the disposition hearing or in its dispositional order. The jurisdictional order is an intermediate, nonappealable order while the dispositional order is the final step in proceedings under Welfare and Institutions Code section 602. It is when the disposition order is made that the court must either state the maximum term of confinement if the minor is removed from his parents’ custody (Welf. & Inst. Code, § 726, subd. (c)) or decline to state a term of confinement. With respect to stating or not stating the maximum term of confinement, it is what happens at the disposition hearing that matters. Thus, the court’s statements at the jurisdiction hearing were of no consequence.

When a condition of probation is permissible under Welfare and Institutions Code section 730, but not section 729.3, section 729.3 does not affect the court’s discretion in ordering the condition. Minor was placed on probation and ordered to submit to chemical tests of blood and breath for the presence of alcohol and controlled substances. He challenged the condition, arguing that section 729.3 restricts the court’s discretion. The court upheld the probation condition. Section 729.3 applies to minors described in sections 601 and 602 who have not been removed from parental custody. It provides that the court may require a minor to submit to urine testing for alcohol or drugs, making no mention of any other manner of testing. Section 730 applies to minors adjudged a ward of the court on the ground that minor is a person described in section 602 and can apply to minors removed from parental custody. It holds, in part, “the court may make any and all reasonable orders for the conduct of the ward.” Courts have held this language grants courts broad discretion in establishing conditions of probation in juvenile cases. In this case, the court compared section 729.3 with section 730 and determined that the plain language and legislative history of the statutes illustrate that the enactment of section 729.3 was not intended to affect the court’s discretion under section 730 to impose blood or breath testing as a condition of probation when permissible under the statute.