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Name: In re Ricki J.
Case #: C047588
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 3 DCA
Opinion Date: 04/21/2005

A juvenile court cannot require a minor to admit the truth of a petition before granting informal supervision. The minor and another juvenile were stopped outside a department store on January 22, 2003 and lingerie concealed in their clothing was recovered by a loss prevention officer. On May 12, 2003, a petition was filed charging appellant with petty theft and notice of the hearing was sent to the minor’s last known address, even though correspondence previously sent to that address had been returned. When the minor failed to appear for arraignment on June 3, 2003, a warrant issued. On June 9, 2004, the minor was arrested on the warrant. She moved to dismiss the proceedings, claiming the post-complaint delay violated her Sixth Amendment right to speedy trial. The juvenile court denied the motion to dismiss and admitted the minor to informal supervision under Welfare and Institutions Code section 654.2 on condition that she admit the allegations of the petition. The court agreed that it would hold the admission “in abeyance” pending appeal on the speedy trial issue. The Court of Appeal dismissed the appeal, holding that because the right to appeal is statutory, and an order for informal supervision is neither an appealable order under Welfare and Institutions Code section 800, subdivision (a), nor a final order, it is not a “judgment” from which an appeal can be taken and the speedy trial issue addressed. Because the juvenile court committed error when it required an admission from the minor before admitting her to informal probation under section 654.2, and when it agreed that the speedy trial issue could be addressed in an appeal, the Court of Appeal issued a peremptory writ of mandate directing the trial court to vacate the admission.