A juvenile ward’s good behavior and positive performance at a secured youth treatment facility does not automatically entitle him to a six-month reduction of his baseline term of confinement. The 14-year-old minor and two other youths were involved in a robbery that resulted in severe injuries to the victims. The minor pleaded no contest to one count of attempted murder, one count of second degree robbery, and admitted enhancements for personal use of a firearm, infliction of great bodily injury causing coma and paralysis, and infliction of great bodily injury on an elderly victim. He was committed to a secured youth treatment facility for a maximum of 11 years or until age 25, with a baseline term of four years. At the minor’s six-month review hearing, the probation department reported he was performing well and progressing consistently. He was doing well academically, attending all therapy appointments, and according to his therapist, was “progressing successfully toward treatment goals.” Defense counsel asked the juvenile court to reduce the minor’s base term by six months. The court denied the motion. The minor appealed. Held: Affirmed. Welfare and Institutions Code section 875(e)(1) gives the juvenile court authority, at each review hearing, to reduce the baseline term initially set at disposition by up to six months. However, under the statute’s plain language, such a reduction is not mandatory. Thus, a minor’s positive performance does not automatically entitle him to a reduction of his baseline term. Further, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in denying a reduction. Although the minor was doing extremely well, he had committed serious offenses and had been assessed with being a high risk for re-offense. He had significant treatment needs, and it was within the court’s discretion to determine that a reduction of his baseline term would not serve his rehabilitative needs and public safety concerns at this time.
The full opinion is available on the court’s website here: https://www.courts.ca.gov/opinions/documents/A166850.PDF