Review Granted Aug. 22, 1985.
Opinions on pages 1-118 omitted. [*]
[214 Cal.Rptr. 756]Edward Sarkisian, Jr., Public Defender, Jose R. Villarreal, Deputy Public Defender, Fresno, for petitioner.
Edward W. Hunt, Dist. Atty., Kenneth Hahus, Deputy Dist. Atty., Fresno, for real party in interest.
No appearance for Respondent.
BEST, Associate Justice.
In this original proceeding upon application for writ of habeas corpus and/or prohibition we address the following thorny question: May a minor adjudged a ward of the juvenile court as a status offender pursuant to WELFARE AND INSTITUTIONS CODE SECTION 601 be punished by confinement in a secure facility during nonschool hours for his contemptuous disobedience of a lawful court order that he attend school? We will conclude that although the existing Juvenile Court Law provides for such confinement only in certain limited situations, when the Juvenile Court Law statutes are read as a whole, the Legislature did not intend to curtail the inherent contempt powers of the juvenile court. To otherwise construe the pertinent statutes would render them unconstitutional as an impermissible infringement on the inherent power of the juvenile court to enforce its lawful orders.
"A status offender might be defined as one whose only offense against society is doing something that would not be legally prohibited if done by an adult. The status offender is defined in section 601 of the Welfare and Institutions Code." (In re Ronald S. (1977) 69 Cal.App.3d 866, 867, fn. 1, 138 Cal.Rptr. 387.)
All statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code unless otherwise indicated.
All statutory references are to Welfare and Institutions Code unless otherwise indicated.
Penty, R., Reading Ability and High School Drop-Outs (1956) Columbia University, pp. 73-77; Washington, Jr., R., A Survey-Analysis of Problems Faced by Inner-City High School Students Who Have Been Classified as Truants (1973) 56 High School Journal 248, 253-254.
Petitioner, Michael G., was adjudged a ward of the Fresno County Juvenile Court pursuant to section 601, subdivision (b)--truancy. As a condition of probation he was ordered, inter alia, to "attend school regularly and not to be tardy or absent." Following numerous unexcused absences from school, the court ordered Michael to show cause why he should not be held in contempt of the court's probationary order. A demurrer and alternative motion to dismiss the order to show cause was filed in which petitioner acknowledged he had received a copy of the probationary order and that "he was able to comply with each order and failed to comply with such orders." A hearing was held on November 26, 1984, and on December 3, 1984, the juvenile court issued its ruling.
"Court takes judicial notice of its orders and finds, based upon the orders, stipulations and pleadings in the case:
"That the minor was referred to the School Attendance Review Board.
"That the minor failed to respond to the directives of the School Attendance Review Board and was thereafter referred to the Juvenile Court.
"That the minor was adjudged a Section 601(b) ward and was ordered to attend school regularly and not be absent or tardy.
"That the minor had knowledge of the order in that he was present in the court when the order was audibly pronounced and, in addition, received a copy of the court order.
"That the Court--or that the minor willfully disobeyed the order to attend school regularly and not be tardy or absent.
"That the minor was able to comply with the order when it was disobeyed.
"That the minor is in contempt of court.
"Section 1218 of the Code of Civil Procedure provides the sanctions for civil contempt.
"It is therefore ordered that this minor be delivered to the custody of the Director of Institutions of the Fresno County Probation Department for confinement for a 48-hour period, to be held out of sight or hearing of any Section 602 ward. Since I certainly wouldn't want to place the Court in the position of depriving the minor of the opportunity to attend school, the 48-hour period will commence [214 Cal.Rptr. 757] on Friday at 6:00 p.m. and end at 6:00 p.m. the succeeding Sunday.
"To afford the minor the opportunity to ask review by the appellate court, it is ordered that the minor report to the Juvenile Hall on Friday, December the 14th, 1984, not later than 6:00 p.m."
The instant petition for writ of habeas corpus and/or prohibition followed and on December 13, 1984, this court stayed enforcement of the order of the court below.
I. Is the trial court's order imposing a 48-hour period of confinement in a secure facility for contempt erroneous?
Although the juvenile court stayed execution of its order of confinement of petitioner, respondent correctly concedes that the constructive restraint of the unexecuted order gives petitioner standing to seek habeas corpus. (In re Smiley (1967) 66 Cal.2d 606, 613, 58 Cal.Rptr. 579, 427 P.2d 179; In re Hochberg (1970) 2 Cal.3d 870, 874, fn. 3, 87 Cal.Rptr. 681, 471 P.2d 1.)
"(b) Minors under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court who are in need of protective services shall receive care, treatment and guidance consistent with their best interest and the best interest of the public. Minors under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court as a consequence of delinquent conduct shall, in conformity with the interests of public safety and protection, receive care, treatment and guidance which is consistent with their best interest, which holds them accountable for their behavior, and which is appropriate for their circumstances. Such guidance may include punishment that is consistent with the rehabilitative objectives of this chapter. Juvenile courts and other public agencies charged with enforcing, interpreting and administering the Juvenile Court Law shall consider the safety and protection of the public and the best interest of the minor in all deliberations pursuant to this chapter.
"(e) As used in this chapter, 'punishment' means the imposition of sanctions which include the following:
"(1) Payment of a fine by the minor.
"(2) Rendering of compulsory service without compensation performed for the benefit of the community by the minor.
"(3) Limitations on the minor's liberty imposed as a condition of probation or parole.
"(4) Commitment of the minor to a local detention or treatment facility, such as a juvenile hall, camp, or ranch.
"(5) Commitment of the minor to the Department of the Youth Authority.
" 'Punishment,' for the purposes of this chapter, does not include retribution."
The Legislature has charged the juvenile court with the duty and responsibility to supervise and control minors subject to its jurisdiction as specified in the Juvenile Court Law. This includes minors falling within the purview of section 601, sometimes referred to as status offenders, those minors who are habitually disobedient, out of control, "fleetfooted runaways," or reluctant students (truants). As were the courts in In re Ronald S., supra, 69 Cal.App.3d 866, 138 Cal.Rptr. 387 and In re Mary D. (1979) 95 Cal.App.3d 34, 156 Cal.Rptr. 829, we find ourselves faced with the troublesome and vexing question of how the juvenile court is to carry out the above legislative mandate under the existing provisions of the Juvenile Court Law. The frustrations confronting our juvenile courts in dealing with one class of status offenders, truants, is eloquently voiced by the very able and experienced juvenile court referee in the case before us:
It was stipulated by the parties that Referee William H. Sanderson sit as temporary judge of the Fresno County Superior Court, Juvenile Division.
Barth, R., Home-based Reinforcement of School Behavior: A Review and Analysis (1979) 49 Review of Education Research 436.
[214 Cal.Rptr. 758]"Again, I earnestly ask the office of the Public Defender to apply for extraordinary writ to test the validity of these findings and order. And if it is determined that contempt proceedings or sanctions cannot be imposed against a Section 601(b) ward and that the Court cannot enforce its orders, then I certainly think that it's high time that the Court got out of the truancy business, the legislature place the Court in the position where it will have some dignity again. Certainly nothing is to be gained by the courts sitting here and pronouncing meaningless orders."
This case is unlike In re Ronald S. and In re Mary D. In In re Ronald S., the minor was a status offender in that he was a runaway, an out-of-control minor. He was lawfully adjudged a ward of the court pursuant to section 601 and ordered by the court to stay in a certain nonsecure facility. He promptly violated this order by leaving the facility. For this violation a section 602 petition was filed in juvenile court alleging that Ronald was now not only a mere runaway but also a misdemeanant for violating Penal Code section 166, subdivision 4.
Penal Code section 166, subdivision 4, provides in pertinent part:
The petition was found to be true and Ronald was detained in juvenile hall as a section 602 ward--no longer just a status offender but now a juvenile found guilty of having violated a section of the Penal Code.
The Court of Appeal granted Ronald's petition for writ of habeas corpus, basing its decision on the statutory history of juvenile court law. In a succinct recapitulation of the law, the court described how status offenders and underage law violators were treated the same prior to 1976. "Under the pre-1976 law, ... the youngster whose only offense against society was that he could not get along with his parents, found himself cheek by jowl with the underage rapist, robber or heroin peddler." (In re Ronald S., supra, 69 Cal.App.3d at p. 870, 138 Cal.Rptr. 387.)
In 1976, the Legislature corrected the "cheek by jowl" situation by precluding contact between section 601 wards and 602 wards. Section 601's were no longer to be committed to the same institutions as section 602's. Furthermore, section 602 as it had read prior to 1976 expressly provided that a status offender, such as Ronald S., could be "bootstrapped" into being an underage criminal: "Any person who is under the age of 18 years ... who, after having been found by the juvenile court to be a person described by section 601, fails to obey any lawful order of the juvenile court [may be adjudged] a ward of the court." (Stats.1972, ch. 84, § 1, p. 109.) The above quoted language was deleted by the 1976 amendment. A minor could no longer become a section 602 for violating an order of the court directed at him while he was a section 601.
The Court of Appeal noted that the lower court had ignored the clear implication of the change in section 602 made by the 1976 amendment. As noted above, the amendment deleted from section 602 the proviso that a section 602 petition could be sustained against a minor based solely on his violating an order of the court made when he was a section 601. Yet this is precisely what the lower court did in Ronald S. He was found in contempt of court, a misdemeanor, for violating Penal Code section 166, subdivision 4. Ronald S. was thus bootstrapped into being a misdemeanant, i.e., a criminal, for violating an order of the court. The appellate court recognized this in granting the habeas petition:
"The procedures established by [the lower court] clearly are an inappropriate basis for a section 602 petition. If they were, a deletion of language in section 602 would become meaningless and we would simply revert to the bootstrapping operation again. The court would be doing [214 Cal.Rptr. 759] by indirection that which cannot be done directly. As the law now stands, the Legislature has said that if a 601 wants to run, let him run. While this may be maddening, baffling and annoying to the juvenile court judge, ours is not to question the wisdom of the Legislature." (In re Ronald S., supra, 69 Cal.App.3d at pp. 873-874, 138 Cal.Rptr. 387.)
In In re Mary D., supra, Mary D. was made a ward of the court pursuant to section 602 after being found guilty of vandalizing property, a misdemeanor. She was ordered placed on probation in the home of her parents. She violated the court's order by running away from home. Another petition was filed alleging criminal contempt. (Pen.Code, § 166, subd. 4.) This petition was found true and Mary D. was ordered detained.
The Court of Appeal reversed, holding that although Mary D. already was a section 602 ward, unlike either Ronald S. or petitioner herein, she should not be subject to the increased time in custody which she was exposed to by being guilty of criminal contempt: "Here it is the punishment, custodial care in a more secure facility, which may be lengthened. [Citations.] This possibility of enlarged penalty is not in keeping with the nature of the offense, running away from home, which the Legislature has declared to be a section 601 offense. A runaway should be punished for that offense alone and not as a more serious law violator provided for by section 602." (In re Mary D., supra, 95 Cal.App.3d 34, 38, 156 Cal.Rptr. 829.)
It is clear that petitioner's situation is distinguishable from those of Ronald S. and Mary D. in that, in petitioner's case, no section 602 petition was sought. The proceeding was completely different from a section 602 petition. Thus, the intent of the Legislature, insofar as it was expressed by its 1976 amendment of section 602, has not been contravened in petitioner's case because his violation of a court order was not used to sustain a section 602 petition. His violation of the lawful court order was only used as the basis to hold him in contempt, not to make him an underage law violator.
This distinction is significant. Ronald S. was subject to all the disabilities attached to a section 602 ward, including the possibility of California Youth Authority commitment. Petitioner is not. Petitioner is a contemner under the Welfare and Institutions Code, and none of the disabilities of section 602 wardship attached to him. His contemptuous action toward the court has exposed him only to the sanctions available in any other contempt proceedings.
This brings us precisely to the crux of the issue--if a section 601, subdivision (b), ward willfully refuses to obey the lawful orders of the court, may he be found in contempt and confined in a secure facility for a period of time? Or, on the other hand, is the court completely without power to enforce its lawful orders? Here, the petitioner is not contesting the court's power to find him in contempt: "Petitioner does not dispute the fact that the court has both the statutory and inherent powers to enforce its order and punish for contempt. What is disputed is the use of contempt proceedings to circumvent the limitations set by the Legislature as to detention of 601(b) wards in a secured facility."
First, we must explore the options available to the court under the existing provisions of the Juvenile Court Law. And, in all candor, recognize that we refer to constraints presently imposed by the legislative intent.
CONSTRAINTS UNDER SECTION 601
Section 601, subdivision (b), states in pertinent part: "[P]rovided, that it is the intent of the Legislature that no minor who is adjudged a ward of the court pursuant solely to this subdivision shall be removed from the custody of the parent or guardian except during school hours."
CONSTRAINTS UNDER SECTION 207
Section 207 provides in pertinent part:
"(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a), no minor shall be detained in any jail, lockup, juvenile [214 Cal.Rptr. 760] hall, or other secure facility who is taken into custody solely upon the ground that he is a person described by Section 601 or adjudged to be such or made a ward of the juvenile court solely upon that ground, except as provided in subdivision (c). If any such minor, other than a minor described in subdivision (c), is detained, he shall be detained in a sheltered-care facility or crisis resolution home as provided for in Section 654, or in a nonsecure facility provided for in subdivision (a), (b), (c), or (d) of Section 727.
"(c) A minor taken into custody upon the ground that he is a person described in Section 601, or adjudged to be a ward of the juvenile court solely upon that ground, may be held in a secure facility, other than a facility in which adults are held in secure custody, in any of the following circumstances:
"(1) For up to 12 hours after having been taken into custody for the purpose of determining if there are any outstanding wants, warrants, or holds against the minor in cases where the arresting officer or probation officer has cause to believe that such wants, warrants, or holds exist.
"(2) For up to 24 hours after having been taken into custody, in order to locate the minor's parent or guardian as soon as possible and to arrange the return of the minor to his parent or guardian.
"(3) For up to 24 hours after having been taken into custody, in order to locate the minor's parent or guardian as soon as possible and to arrange the return of the minor to his parent or guardian, whose parent or guardian is a resident outside of the state wherein the minor was taken into custody, except that such period may be extended to no more than 72 hours when the return of the minor cannot reasonably be accomplished within 24 hours due to the distance of the parents or guardian from the county of custody, difficulty in locating the parents or guardian, or difficulty in locating resources necessary to provide for the return of the minor. (Emphasis added.)
It is the emphasized language in subdivision (b) that supports petitioner's contention that it is the Legislature's intent that a section 601 minor shall not be detained in a secure facility. Although section 207 now provides certain exceptions under subdivision (c) under which a minor who is described in section 601 may be held in a secure facility, the exceptions do not encompass minors who are held in contempt of court.
Subdivision (b) was added to section 207 in 1977 by amendment (Stats.1977, ch. 1241, p. 4180, § 1, eff. Oct. 1, 1977.) At that time, it provided as follows:
"Notwithstanding the provisions of subdivision (a) or any other provision of law, no minor shall be detained in any jail, lockup, juvenile hall, or other secure facility who is taken into custody solely upon the ground that he is a person described by section 601 or adjudged to be such or made a ward of the juvenile court solely upon that ground. If any such minor is detained, he shall be detained in a sheltered-care facility or crisis resolution home as provided for in section 654, or in a nonsecure facility provided for in subdivision (a), (b), (c), or (d) of section 727."
In 1978, subdivision (b) was amended by deleting the words "or any other provision of law" following "subdivision (a)"; added the exception to the end of the first sentence in subdivision (b); added, in the second sentence of subdivision (b), the words "other than a minor described in subdivision (c)"; and added subdivisions (c) through (f). (Stats.1978, ch. 1061, p. 3271, § 1, eff. Sept. 25, 1978.)
Thus, the history of section 207 shows that after the In re Ronald S. case, the Legislature basically affirmed the holding in Ronald S. by prohibiting a section 601 minor from being detained in any secure facility. The Legislature's intent was clear. Then, in 1978, the Legislature permitted the detention in a secure facility of [214 Cal.Rptr. 761] section 601 minors under limited delineated exceptions. It appears clear that the legislative intent is that a section 601 minor is not to be detained in a secure facility except under those delineated exceptions, which do not include contemners under section 213.
Unlike subdivision (b) of section 207, subdivision (b) of section 601 does not speak about custody but only the adjudication of a minor as a ward of the court. However, the legislative intent that a section 601, subdivision (b), ward not be removed from the custody of the parent or guardian except during school hours is expressly stated.
The intent of the Legislature is, therefore, clearly expressed: no minor adjudged a ward of the court under section 601, subdivision (b), may be removed from the custody of the parent or guardian except during school hours, nor may such ward be detained in a secure facility except under the narrow circumstances set forth in section 207, subdivision (c).
Respondent contends that petitioner does not fall within the proscription of section 207, subdivision (b), in that he would not be in custody "solely upon the ground that he is a person described by section 601." Respondent maintains that petitioner would be in custody not because he was truant or out of control or a curfew violator, the purview of section 601, but rather because he is in contempt of court.
Petitioner contends, on the other hand, that while he would not technically be in custody solely for his section 601 status, his contemner status would stem directly from a section 601 wardship and the same conduct giving rise to the wardship, i.e., truancy. The logical extension of petitioner's argument would be that in view of In re Ronald S., supra, and the Legislature's reaction thereto, as noted above, and the history of section 601, by using the phrase "taken into custody solely upon the ground that he is a person described by Section 601, or adjudged to be such or made a ward of juvenile court solely upon that ground," the Legislature intended that in order not to be subject to the limitations of subdivision (b) of section 207 the minor would also have to be a ward of the court under section 602. (See, e.g., In re Gerald B. (1980) 105 Cal.App.3d 119, 125, 164 Cal.Rptr. 193.) Respondent's interpretation, according to petitioner, would, therefore, contravene the Legislature's true intent--it would permit the juvenile court "to do indirectly what it could not do directly." (In re Mary D., supra, 95 Cal.App.3d 34, 38, 156 Cal.Rptr. 829; In re Ronald S., supra, 69 Cal.App.3d 866, 874, 138 Cal.Rptr. 387.)
To interpret sections 601, subdivision (b), and 207, subdivision (b), as expressing the Legislature's intent that a section 601 ward may not be held in contempt, as contended by petitioner, would, to that extent, render the statutes unconstitutional, as we will point out below. To interpret the same statutes as expressing the Legislature's intent that a section 601 ward may be held in contempt, but prohibiting such ward's confinement in a secure facility in punishment for the contempt would raise grave constitutional questions. If the juvenile courts were precluded from committing a contemptuous ward to a secure facility, the only alternative means of punishment under the existing juvenile court law would be those specified in sections 601, subdivision (b), and 207, subdivision (b)--during school hours only, detention in a sheltered care facility or crisis resolution home as provided in section 654 (neither of which is a secure facility), or in a nonsecure facility as specified in subdivision (a) or (b) of section 727, or the imposition of a fine or an order for compulsory community service as provided in subdivisions (e), (1) and (2) of section 202.
Giving effect to such legislative intent would also mean that the minor could walk away from any of the specified facilities, refuse to perform community services, or refuse to pay a fine, all with complete impunity. It is difficult to equate this result with punishment. In our view, such a constraint upon the court's power to punish for contempt would completely undermine the dignity and authority of the court, [214 Cal.Rptr. 762] make the court a laughing stock in the eyes of the very persons it is charged with the duty to supervise and control, and would be constitutionally impermissible.
It has uniformly been held that the courts have inherent power, even in the absence of statutory provision, to enforce their lawful orders through the power of contempt.
"It is founded upon the principle--which is coeval with the existence of the courts, and as necessary as the right of self-protection--that it is a necessary incident to the execution of the powers conferred upon the court, and is necessary to maintain its dignity, if not its very existence. It exists independent of statute. The legislative department may regulate the procedure and enlarge the power, but it cannot without trenching upon the constitutional powers of the court and destroying the autonomy of that system of checks and balances, which is one of the chief features of our triple-department form of government, fetter the power itself." (In re Shortridge (1893) 99 Cal. 526, 532, 34 P. 227; Raiden v. Superior Court (1949) 34 Cal.2d 83, 86, 206 P.2d 1081.)
"[T]he courts have inherent power to punish for contempts, whether of a direct or constructive nature, and ... the legislature cannot constitutionally infringe on that power. (In re Shuler, 210 Cal. 377, 397 [292 P. 481]; McClatchy v. Superior Court, 119 Cal. 413 [51 P. 696, 39 L.R.A. 691]; Lamberson v. Superior Court, 151 Cal. 458 [91 P. 100, 11 L.R.A. (N.S.) 619]; In re Lindsley, 75 Cal.App. 122 [241 P. 934]; Lindsley v. Superior Court, 76 Cal.App. 419 [245 P. 212]; see, also, In re Arnold, 204 Cal. 175 [267 P. 316]; Blodgett v. Superior Court, 210 Cal. 1 [290 P. 293, 72 A.L.R. 482]; In re Shortridge, 99 Cal. 526 [34 P. 227, 37 Am.St.Rep. 78, 21 L.R.A. 755].)" (In re San Francisco Chronicle (1934) 1 Cal.2d 630, 634, 36 P.2d 369.)
"It is well established that a court has inherent power to punish for contempt of court (In re McKinney (1968) 70 Cal.2d 8, 10-11 [73 Cal.Rptr. 580, 447 P.2d 972] ...). As this court declared many years ago in a case repeatedly cited with approval, this inherent power 'is a necessary incident to the execution of the powers conferred upon the court, and is necessary to maintain its dignity, if not its very existence.' (In re Shortridge (1893) 99 Cal. 526, 532 [34 P. 227] ....)" (In re Buckley (1973) 10 Cal.3d 237, 247-248, 110 Cal.Rptr. 121, 514 P.2d 1201.)
" 'The power of contempt possessed by the courts is inherent in their constitutional status. While the Legislature can impose reasonable restrictions upon the exercise of that power or the procedures by which it may be exercised [citation] it "[cannot] declare that certain acts shall not constitute a ... contempt." [Citation.]' " (Rosato v. Superior Court (1975) 51 Cal.App.3d 190, 220, 124 Cal.Rptr. 427.)
"No doubt exists as to the inherent power of a constitutional court, in the absence of statutory provision therefor, to impose punishment for a contempt. Its very existence depends upon the exercise of such power. Hence, it may be conceded that a statute without constitutional authority therefor, which takes from the courts all power to punish for contempt, or fixes a penalty wholly inadequate for the purpose, would not be countenanced by the courts." (In re Garner (1918) 179 Cal. 409, 411-412, 177 P. 162.)
These authorities establish beyond doubt that the courts of this state possess the inherent power to enforce their lawful orders by way of imposing sanctions for contempt. The Legislature recognized that this power is vested in juvenile courts by enacting section 213 and, also, that when necessary the court may, under appropriate circumstances, punish minors subject to their jurisdiction by detention in a secure [214 Cal.Rptr. 763] facility. ( §§ 202, subds. (b), (e)(4); 207, subd. (c).) The Legislature may regulate the procedure and proscribe the punishment for contempt, so long as the punishment is adequate for its purpose. (In re Garner, supra, 179 Cal. at pp. 411-412, 177 P. 162.) We also recognize, of course, that in its role as parens patriae the state may enact special laws for the care, protection, safety and guidance of minors within its borders. (See In re Daedler (1924) 194 Cal. 320, 323-331, 228 P. 467.) We have no doubt that the Legislature could lawfully provide different procedures and different means for punishing minors found in contempt than those provided for adults. (See, e.g., Code Civ.Proc., § 1219.5.) Except in rare instances, the Legislature has not done so, with the general qualification that minors shall not be detained in such places or in such manner that they come or remain in contact with adult detainees. ( § 208.)
Section 213 provides: "Any willful disobedience or interference with any lawful order of the juvenile court or of a judge or referee thereof constitutes a contempt of court.
If sections 601, subdivision (b), and 207, subdivision (b), were interpreted as purporting to take away from the juvenile court the power to impose a punishment adequate for the purpose of enabling the court to enforce its lawful orders made in accordance with the legislative mandate that the juvenile court supervise and control section 601 wards, the inherent powers of the court to punish for contempt would be unconstitutionally infringed.
It is a fundamental principle that, if reasonably possible, the courts must construe statutes to avoid doubts as to their constitutionality. (People v. Smith (1983) 34 Cal.3d 251, 259, 193 Cal.Rptr. 692, 667 P.2d 149, and cases cited.)
"In engaging in statutory interpretation we are to accord words their usual, ordinary, and common sense meaning based on the language the Legislature used and the evident purpose for which the statute was adopted." (In re Rojas (1979) 23 Cal.3d 152, 155, 151 Cal.Rptr. 649, 588 P.2d 789, and cases cited; 58 Cal.Jur.3d, Statutes, § 123, pp. 515-516.)
Sections 601, subdivision (b), 207, subdivision (b), and 213 are all part of the Juvenile Court Law. These sections must be read together and harmonized, if possible, so as to give full effect to each.
" 'The courts assume that in enacting a statute the Legislature was aware of existing, related laws and intended to maintain a consistent body of statutes. [Citations.] Thus there is a presumption against repeals by implication; they will occur only where the two acts are so inconsistent that there is no possibility of concurrent operation, or where the later provision gives undebatable evidence of an intent to supersede the earlier; the courts are bound to maintain the integrity of both statutes if they may stand together. [Citations.]' " (Hays v. Wood (1979) 25 Cal.3d 772, 784, 160 Cal.Rptr. 102, 603 P.2d 19.)
Accordingly, we hold that by the phrase "no minor who is adjudged a ward of the court pursuant solely to this subdivision" in section 601, subdivision (b), and the phrase "no minor shall be detained in any jail, lockup, juvenile hall, or other secure facility who is taken into custody solely upon the ground that he is a person described by section 601 or adjudged to be such or made a ward of juvenile court solely upon that ground" in section 207, subdivision (b), the Legislature did not intend to eliminate nor restrict the inherent powers of the juvenile court to punish a section 601 ward pursuant to section 213. To the contrary, we hold that the Legislature intended to preserve intact the contempt powers of the juvenile court to enforce its lawful orders.
The petition is denied and the stay previously ordered is vacated.
FRANSON, Acting P.J., concurs.
PAULINE DAVIS HANSON, Associate Justice, dissenting.
I respectfully dissent.
The majority holds that a truant made a ward of the juvenile court under Welfare [214 Cal.Rptr. 764] and Institutions Code section 601 1 who persists in his truancy after a court order requiring him to attend school, may be held in a secure facility during nonschool hours. I do not agree.
As the majority opinion notes, section 601, subdivision (b), makes clear "it is the intent of the Legislature that no minor who is adjudged a ward of the court pursuant solely to this subdivision shall be removed from the custody of the parent or guardian except during school hours." The court in this case ordered Michael G., a "ward of the court pursuant solely to" section 601, subdivision (b), to spend time in a secure facility during nonschool hours. While the finding of contempt by the court may have given rise to the right to impose sanctions, it did not, and could not (In re Ronald S. (1977) 69 Cal.App.3d 866, 872, 138 Cal.Rptr. 387), transform the nature of the wardship. Michael G. was "a ward of the court pursuant solely to" section 601, subdivision (b), and remained so after the finding of contempt. He could not be removed from the custody of his parents except during school hours.
Section 207, subdivision (b), also forbids the detention of a minor, with exceptions concededly not applicable here,
"in any jail, lockup, juvenile hall, or other secure facility who is taken into custody solely upon the ground that he is a person described by Section 601 or adjudged to be such or made a ward of the juvenile court solely upon that ground...."
Michael G., a persistent truant, was ordered incarcerated in a secure facility. While the canons of statutory interpretation may allow distinguishing Michael G.'s status as a contemnor, from his status as a ward pursuant to section 601, subdivision (b), for purposes of interpreting the phrase "who is taken into custody solely upon the ground that he is a person described by Section 601"--such an interpretation violates the intent of the Legislature. (See §§ 202, subd. (a); 601, subd. (b); see also In re Ronald S., supra, at pp. 867-872, 138 Cal.Rptr. 387; Review of Selected 1976 California Legislation (1977) 8 Pacific L.J. 165, 420-422.) The goal of statutory construction is to effectuate the intent of the Legislature and both the legislative history of the statute and the historical circumstances of its passage comprise legitimate considerations. (California Mfrs. Assn. v. Public Utilities Com. (1979) 24 Cal.3d 836, 844, 157 Cal.Rptr. 676, 598 P.2d 836; see generally 2A Sutherland Statutory Construction (Singer rev. ed. 1984) Criteria of Interpretation, §§ 45.05, 45.09.)
While apparently agreeing with the above analysis, the majority concludes we must interpret these sections as permitting the detention of Michael G., for to do otherwise is an unconstitutional infringement upon the contempt powers of the court.
A statute " 'which takes from the courts all power to punish for contempt, or fixes a penalty wholly inadequate for the purpose' " would represent an unconstitutional infringement upon the power of the court to punish for contempt. (In re McKinney (1968) 70 Cal.2d 8, 11, 73 Cal.Rptr. 580, 447 P.2d 972, quoting In re Garner (1918) 179 Cal. 409, 411-412, 177 P. 162.) A statute which limits the power to punish for contempt is constitutional as long as the sanctions available to the court are " 'sufficient to enable the courts to vindicate their authority and maintain the dignity and respect due to them.' " (In re McKinney, supra, 70 Cal.2d at p. 12, 73 Cal.Rptr. 580, 447 P.2d 972, quoting In re Garner, supra, 179 Cal. at p. 413, 177 P. 162.)
The juvenile courts do not require, within the panoply of contempt sanctions available, the power to detain a persistent truant in a secure facility during nonschool hours "to vindicate their authority and maintain the dignity and respect due to them." The Legislature intended to bar the availability of this particular sanction, as shown in sections 601, subdivision (b), and 207, subdivision (b), and in implementing that intention neither stripped from the court "all power to punish for contempt" nor left sanctions "wholly inadequate for [214 Cal.Rptr. 765] the purpose." The alternative sanctions listed by the majority (majority opn., p. 762) are not on their face "wholly inadequate."
Rather than attacking the symptoms of truancy, the juvenile courts should strike at its causes. Those of us who have presided in juvenile court for any appreciable time well know the profile of the youngster who frequents the halls of juvenile court rather than the halls of his school. The child can neither read with understanding nor write comprehensibly. 2 Parental indifference to the educational well-being of the child exacerbates the problem. 3 Unable to keep up with his school work in the classroom, his return from truancy signals disruption. Counseling and tutorial services, where emphasis is on participation in school, in reading books at home, in finding enjoyment in reading, in one-on-one tutoring, would better prepare the truant to become a student than to adopt a pattern of "lockup" through the contempt power of the court. "Illiteracy is an enduring disability." (Plyler v. Doe (1982) 457 U.S. 202, 222, 102 S.Ct. 2382, 2397, 72 L.Ed.2d 786.)
Our juvenile court facilities figuratively are bursting at the seams. To initiate a program of detaining truants in secure facilities will require the spending of public money on lockup facilities and monitoring personnel. This money could more productively lower the truancy rate by being spent in the schools, reducing overcrowding and improving the student-teacher ratio.
I find no threatened constitutional infirmity of sections 601, subdivision (b), and 207, subdivision (b), by construing them as restricting the contempt powers of the juvenile court. Whether status offenders should remain within the purview of the court system, with its inherent confrontational and coercive aspects, should be a topic of legislative debate. (See In re Ronald S., supra, 69 Cal.App.3d 866, 874, 138 Cal.Rptr. 387; Note, For Troubled Youth--Help, Not Jail (1979) 31 Hastings L.J. 539, 555.) But, while they do remain subject to the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, I do not feel the court's honor or authority requires that truant offenders be locked up.
I would grant petitioner's writ of habeas corpus.
[*] See post, page 1698 for opinions withdrawn and case subsequent histories.
"Every person guilty of any contempt of Court, of either of the following kinds, is guilty of a misdemeanor:
"4. Willful disobedience of any process or order lawfully issued by any Court; ..."