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Name: L.A. et al. v. Superior Court (San Diego)
Case #: D060589
Court: CA Court of Appeal
District 4 DCA
Division: 1
Opinion Date: 10/02/2012

Juvenile status offenders who repeatedly violate court orders to attend school may be held in juvenile hall under a contempt order. Two minors who were truant and found to be Welfare and Institutions Code section 601 wards alleged the court unlawfully committed them to juvenile hall during school hours after they violated court orders to attend school. As the minors were no longer being held, their habeas corpus petitions were treated as petitions for writ of mandate. Held: Relief denied to one minor; partially granted as to the other. The custody limitations of Welfare and Institutions Code section sections 207, subdivision (a) and 601, subdivision (b) were not intended to limit a juvenile court’s discretion to punish a contempt under Welfare and Institutions Code section section 213, which provides that willful disobedience of a juvenile court’s order constitutes contempt of court. Nor does section 601, subdivision (b) prevent the court from ordering secure confinement during school hours. Where a juvenile is unwilling to comply with the court’s orders, it is permitted to order custody during both school and nonschool hours. The wording of the statute provides that during school hours a parent’s rights may be diminished, but that does not impact the contempt power of the court. As to L.A., the petition was denied. As to Michael G., the juvenile court failed to memorialize its findings as required; his petition was granted and the court directed to make findings with respect to its contempt order.