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People v. R.W. (In re R.W.)

Oct 10, 2019
H046754 (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 10, 2019)




In re R.W., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. THE PEOPLE, Plaintiff and Respondent, v. R.W., Defendant and Appellant.


California Rules of Court, rule 8.1115(a), prohibits courts and parties from citing or relying on opinions not certified for publication or ordered published, except as specified by rule 8.1115(b). This opinion has not been certified for publication or ordered published for purposes of rule 8.1115. (Monterey County Super. Ct. Nos. 18JV000631 & 19JV000009)

Appellant R.W. appeals from the juvenile court's dispositional order committing him to the Division of Juvenile Justice following his admission that, while on probation, he committed the crime of attempted carjacking and violated a number of other conditions of his probation. For the reasons explained below, we affirm the order.


In June 2018, the Monterey County District Attorney filed a petition under Welfare and Institutions Code section 602, subdivision (a), alleging that appellant, who was then 15 years old, received stolen property (Pen. Code, § 496d, subd. (a)) and resisted a peace officer (Pen. Code, § 148, subd. (a)(1)).

Unspecified statutory references are to the Welfare and Institutions Code.

Shortly thereafter, in early July 2018, appellant admitted both crimes. The juvenile court determined the maximum time for any confinement was three years and four months and found that appellant was eligible for deferred judgment and probation. In its July 20, 2018 disposition report, the probation officer stated that this was appellant's "third referral" to the Monterey County Probation Department. Appellant's first referral was in 2014, when he received intake diversion for fighting in school (Pen. Code, § 415.5(a)) and was placed in a "COPS Aggressive Offender program," which he appears to have successfully completed. In 2017, appellant was granted intake diversion for statutory rape and possession of child pornography (Pen. Code, §§ 261.5, subd. (a), 311.11, subd. (a)) and placed in a sexting program, with which appellant complied.

The probation officer's July 2018 report noted that, although appellant had a history of behavioral issues and suspensions at school, appellant appeared to be motivated to graduate from high school and obtain employment. The probation officer recommended the juvenile court grant appellant deferred entry of judgment with supervised probation.

Adopting the probation officer's recommendation, on July 26, 2018, the juvenile court granted appellant deferred entry of judgment for a period of 24 months, to remain in the custody of his parents or guardians under the supervision of probation.

Less than six months later, on December 28, 2018, officers from the Monterey Police Department arrested appellant, who was then 16 years old and still on probation, for an attempted carjacking with a loaded gun. The attempted carjacking had occurred earlier that evening and was perpetrated by appellant and three companions. The victim had been sitting in her vehicle when she was approached by a juvenile female who asked to use her cell phone. After the victim handed her phone to the female, appellant approached the victim and told her to get out of her vehicle and to leave the keys in the ignition. Appellant displayed to the victim a gun that was hidden underneath his shirt and told her to "hurry up and get out of the vehicle or he would 'have to kill her.' " When the victim refused to leave the vehicle, appellant turned to his two other companions, shook his head " 'no,' " and fled the scene. Police captured appellant and his coconspirators (all of whom were later identified as probationers) at a nearby mall.

We take the facts, which are not in dispute, from the probation officer's description of the crime in the initial detention report and supplemental report.

When interviewed by the probation officer, appellant noted he "had the gun" but claimed that he had not told the victim he was going to kill her but rather he "told her that I don't want to kill you. I guess she didn't understand what I said."

After appellant and the other subjects were detained, officers located the gun, which had been placed in a storage area for recyclables. The gun was a loaded hand gun, with a magazine containing eight rounds of ammunition and one round loaded in the chamber.

Shortly after appellant's arrest, on January 2, 2019, the Monterey County District Attorney filed a petition under section 602, subdivision (a), alleging the crimes of attempted carjacking (Pen. Code, §§ 664 & 215, subd. (a); count 1), possession of a firearm by a minor (Pen. Code, § 29610; count 2), and conspiracy to commit a crime (Pen. Code, § 182, subd. (a)(1); count 3). The petition also alleged that appellant used a firearm during the commission of the attempted carjacking (Pen. Code, § 12022.5, subd. (a).)

That same day, the probation department filed a detention report. The report summarized appellant's prior record, which included the 2014 and 2017 diversions and the 2018 crime for which he received probation. In addition, the detention report listed an offense dated December 11, 2015, under Penal Code section 417, subdivision (a)(1), but the disposition is described as "DA dismissed filing," and no more information about the offense appears in the record. On January 3, 2019, the juvenile court revoked deferred entry of judgment and ordered appellant detained at juvenile hall.

Penal Code section 417, subdivision (a)(1), states, "Every person who, except in self-defense, in the presence of any other person, draws or exhibits any deadly weapon whatsoever, other than a firearm, in a rude, angry, or threatening manner, or who in any manner, unlawfully uses a deadly weapon other than a firearm in any fight or quarrel is guilty of a misdemeanor, punishable by imprisonment in a county jail for not less than 30 days."

Related to the earlier 2018 proceeding (for which appellant had received probation), the probation officer filed a petition alleging that appellant had violated probation on a number of occasions, including by testing positive for benzodiazepines and marijuana, failing to report to his probation officer, violating curfew, associating with probationers, and committing new crimes, specifically those connected to the attempted carjacking.

On February 13, 2019, appellant admitted the attempted carjacking count and firearm enhancement and admitted all of the alleged probation violations (§ 793). The juvenile court ruled the maximum time of confinement was 15 years and 6 months. The court dismissed counts 2 and 3 but considered their underlying facts pursuant to the negotiated disposition.

Prior to the dispositional hearing, the probation officer filed a supplemental report with the juvenile court. In that report, the officer described an interview with appellant that occurred at the Monterey County Juvenile Hall on February 21, 2019, during which appellant expressed remorse for his " 'dumb decision' " and explained that he had abandoned the carjacking after picturing his mom as the victim. He stated that he had been " 'just trying to fit in.' " Appellant expressed a desire to get assistance for his anger management and drug and alcohol issues. The probation officer recommended that the juvenile court commit appellant to the Monterey County Youth Center (youth center), rather than the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ).

The record does not contain details about the youth center's facilities or its programs, although the juvenile court and counsel appeared to be familiar with it. The juvenile court noted that it had been to the youth center "several times." Defense counsel at the dispositional hearing stated that the youth center has an "open bay" and described it as less confining than DJJ's living quarters. Defense counsel also stated that, based on his discussion with the probation department, appellant, if placed at the youth center, would likely be there with one or more of the juveniles involved in the attempted carjacking. However, the juvenile court does not appear to have relied on this fact in its decision to place appellant at DJJ.

Explaining why she recommended the youth center rather than DJJ, the probation officer stated, "[t]aking into consideration the fact that the minor would be eligible for discharge after one year if he is committed to DJJ, it is felt that the minor and his family would be best served with a local commitment at the Youth Center. This will allow the minor's family to participate in programs and therapeutic services along with the minor, so that they may develop the intervention tools together to ensure the minor is successful in his transition home upon his release from the Youth Center. Should the minor not run a good program while at the Youth Center and he is returned to Juvenile Hall for behavioral issues, then a commitment to DJJ will be revisited."

On February 27, 2019, the probation department filed a juvenile hall behavior report, which stated that appellant generally got along with his peers, but that he exhibited a "disruptive pattern of behavior" toward the juvenile hall staff, including by using profane language and yelling at staff and by kicking his room door to disrupt the unit. Because of this behavior, the staff moved appellant to another unit in juvenile hall.

In a memorandum filed on February 28, 2019 (the same day as the dispositional hearing), which the juvenile court received into evidence, the probation officer described the programs available to appellant should he be committed to DJJ. The memorandum did not reference any particular DJJ facility or rely on a facility-specific analysis but rather generally described the programs available at DJJ.

In the memorandum, the probation officer stated that at DJJ appellant would be "considered a category six offender, and would serve a one-year commitment" and would participate in a variety of programs and services, including the "Pine Youth Conservation Camp," "Intervention Strategies," mental health and sex behavior treatment programs, substance abuse treatment programs, education services, and reentry programs. Relating to the "Intervention Strategies" program in particular, the probation officer noted that the program included a training called "Aggression Interruption Training" that could benefit appellant, because it was a cognitive-behavioral intervention that teaches youth "how to improve their social skills, consider the perspective of others, and to control their anger." DJJ also offered another similar intervention program called "CounterPoint" for youth "who are assessed as having a greater likelihood of re-offending" and that provides participants with skills to develop "more pro-social attitudes."

The memorandum further noted that the substance abuse treatment program at DJJ would help to address appellant's history of drug use and abuse, and that the program involved regular biweekly sessions. Moreover, given that appellant was behind on his academics, the education services at DJJ would help him develop a high school graduation plan, and DJJ would enroll him into an "appropriate educational program" and technical education courses to prepare for a successful transition to the community by "emphasizing college and career readiness." Finally, the reentry program would connect appellant to resources and opportunities in the community to ensure that he left DJJ with a viable plan and would reduce his risk of re-offending.

On February 28, 2019, the juvenile court held the dispositional hearing. It noted it had reviewed all the submissions, including the probation officer's report, the letters submitted by appellant's mother, appellant's first cousin, and a community pastor, as well as the juvenile hall report. Regarding the juvenile hall behavior report, the probation officer appeared at the hearing, allowed counsel to review the notes from her file, and confirmed her report was accurate. With respect to appellant's classroom behavior, the probation officer stated that appellant was formally removed one time from the classroom for disruptive behavior, and that more recently there was an incident where he had not followed an officer's directives and "referred to an officer as a quote, fat bitch, end quote," but he was not actually removed from the classroom.

The juvenile court observed that appellant had displayed "some empathy and remorse towards the victim." However, the juvenile court also noted that appellant had a prior history with the juvenile court beginning in 2014 and had received informal treatment and completed a program that was intended "to prevent him having to be before the Court again." In 2017, he had completed a "sexting program." However, the juvenile court noted that there was an "escalation" in 2018 when appellant engaged in a more "sophisticated" crime by using a juvenile female to ask the victim for help with the phone and then engaging in the attempted carjacking once the victim no longer had her phone. The female involved in the carjacking was apparently the victim of appellant's earlier sexual offenses. The juvenile court further noted that appellant's threat to " 'kill' " the victim when he demanded the car, in conjunction with his possession of a fully loaded gun with a round in the chamber, was "extremely serious."

Acknowledging that appellant preferred to go to the youth center because it was "local" and because DJJ was "an unknown," the juvenile court remarked that it had been to a DJJ facility in Stockton and "was very impressed with the programs, the staff, and very impressed frankly with the individuals who are going through the programs." The juvenile court noted all the programs available to appellant at DJJ, and that such programs "are going to address [appellant's] substance abuse issues that are significant." The juvenile court further stated the programs were going to "address whatever underlying issues there are," as "apparently we have been unable to address them here locally with programs." Elaborating further, the juvenile court reasoned "a person just doesn't take a gun and threaten to kill somebody when they're on probation. There's a lot more going on there. And all of that needs to be addressed. And I don't feel that the programs that we currently have available here in Monterey County are going to be able to address those needs as comprehensively as the programs in Stockton."

After noting it had "carefully thought about the programs available in both places," the juvenile court further highlighted the reentry program at DJJ that would enable appellant to "plan for successful return to our community," which the court characterized as "important." In addition, the juvenile court described the staff at DJJ as people who "deeply care about the youth and are hoping that families will come and participate as much as they possibly can." The juvenile court declared appellant a ward of the court and ordered him committed to DJJ, with a maximum term of confinement of 15 years and six months and eligibility for release in one year.

Appellant timely appealed. While this appeal was pending, appellant filed in the juvenile court a request for a stay pending appeal of his transportation to DJJ, largely based on hardship to appellant's mother due to her health issues. The juvenile court conducted a hearing on appellant's request for a stay on April 3, 2019, which it denied. The juvenile court found that "while the Court does understand the challenges of family going to Sacramento, the best interests of [appellant] at this point require that he start engaging in his program as soon as possible."

The record does not indicate which DJJ facility appellant was committed to, and the juvenile court had referenced Stockton (rather than Sacramento) at the earlier dispositional hearing.


Appellant argues the juvenile court abused its discretion in committing him to DJJ. He argues he would be better suited for an alternative placement, such as juvenile hall or the youth center in Monterey County, because there is no evidence that he benefited from "graduated sanctions," or that he needed to be in a more secure facility. He also contends a closer placement will better further his rehabilitation because it will include his family's participation. He asserts that his family consists primarily of his mother, who is too ill to travel regularly to facilities located outside Monterey County. He further argues that any rehabilitation in DJJ would be undermined by the "daily" violence there and his exposure to more sophisticated criminals. The Attorney General counters that the record supports the challenged order. We agree and therefore affirm.

" 'The California Youth Authority (CYA) was renamed California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice, effective July 1, 2005. The Division of Juvenile Facilities (DJF) is part of the Division of Juvenile Justice.' [Citation.] The trial court (and many cases) use DJJ (Division of Juvenile Justice) and DJF seemingly interchangeably." (In re J.C. (2017) 13 Cal.App.5th 1201, 1204, fn. 2.) Because the trial court and the parties used DJJ, we do so as well.

A. Applicable Legal Principles

"The purpose of [juvenile court law] is to provide for the protection and safety of the public and each minor under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court . . . , removing the minor from the custody of his or her parents only when necessary for his or her welfare or for the safety and protection of the public." (§ 202, subd. (a).)

At the dispositional hearing, "the court considers the probation officer's social study and other evidence to determine an appropriate disposition. (§ 706.) In reaching a disposition, the court considers (1) the minor's age, (2) the circumstances and gravity of the offense, and (3) the minor's previous delinquent history. (§ 725.5.) The court may place the minor on probation, with or without declaring the minor a ward of the court, or it may declare the minor a ward and order appropriate treatment and placement. (§§ 725, 726.) Placement options include the home of a relative or extended family member; a suitable licensed community care facility or foster home; juvenile hall; a ranch, camp or forestry camp; and, the most restrictive setting, [DJJ]. (§§ 727, subd. (a), 730, subd. (a), 731, subd. (a)(4).)" (In re Greg F. (2012) 55 Cal.4th 393, 404 (Greg F.).) "In contrast to the more punitive aims of the adult criminal justice system, 'the purpose of the juvenile justice system is "(1) to serve the 'best interests' of the delinquent ward by providing care, treatment, and guidance to rehabilitate the ward and 'enable him or her to be a law-abiding and productive member of his or her family and community,' and (2) to 'provide for the protection and safety of the public . . . .' (§ 202, subds. (a), (b) & (d).)" ' " (Id. at p. 417.)

Bearing in mind these dual purposes of rehabilitation and public safety, we review the juvenile court's commitment decision for abuse of discretion and indulge all reasonable inferences to support the juvenile court's decision. (In re A.R. (2018) 24 Cal.App.5th 1076, 1081 (A.R.).) "We review the court's findings for substantial evidence." (In re Nicole H. (2016) 244 Cal.App.4th 1150, 1154 (Nicole H.).) " ' "Substantial evidence" is evidence of ponderable legal significance, evidence that is reasonable, credible and of solid value.' " (In re Carlos J. (2018) 22 Cal.App.5th 1, 6.)

" 'A DJJ commitment is not an abuse of discretion where the evidence demonstrates a probable benefit to the minor from the commitment and less restrictive alternatives would be ineffective or inappropriate.' " (A.R., supra, 24 Cal.App.5th at p. 1080 [quoting In re M.S. (2009) 174 Cal.App.4th 1241, 1250-1251].) " 'Although the DJJ is normally a placement of last resort, there is no absolute rule that a DJJ commitment cannot be ordered unless less restrictive placements have been attempted.' " (A.R., at pp. 1080-1081 [quoting M.S., at p. 1250].)

B. Analysis

Having reviewed the record from the dispositional hearing, we conclude the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in ordering appellant committed to DJJ.

1. Probable Benefit to Appellant

There is substantial evidence in the record to support a probable benefit to appellant from a DJJ commitment. At the time of the dispositional hearing in February 2019, appellant had a history with the juvenile court system that stretched back to 2014. He had already participated in two informal diversion programs in 2014 and 2017 and had been granted probation for other crimes in 2018. Nevertheless, during his probationary period, appellant committed another and more serious crime involving the use of a loaded firearm and attempted carjacking, as well as violating other terms of his probation.

Given the escalating nature of appellant's crimes and the failure of prior attempts to mitigate and prevent criminal behavior, as well as his admitted problems with drug use and anger, the juvenile court properly focused on the services and resources available at DJJ to help appellant with relevant rehabilitative goals. As noted by the California Supreme Court, "a [DJJ] commitment is not necessarily contrary to a minor's welfare. The [DJJ] has many rehabilitative programs that can benefit delinquent wards. [Citations.] Some wards, like the minor here, may be best served by the structured institutional environment and special programs available only at the [DJJ]." (Greg F., supra, 55 Cal.4th at p. 417.)

As outlined in the probation officer's memorandum, DJJ has a variety of programs to assist appellant tailored to his specific issues and needs, including therapy programs to address his drug use and anger issues, as well as a reentry program to assist him with becoming a productive and law-abiding member of society.

Appellant largely does not challenge the juvenile court's findings with respect to the probable benefit of DJJ's programs and resources. He does, however, raise counter arguments, for instance that any benefits from such programs would be undermined because he will be exposed to more "sophisticated" and violent criminals at DJJ and will be far from family support. While appellant cites to a study from the Center of Juvenile and Criminal Justice dated February 2019 for the proposition that DJJ has high levels of violence, the juvenile court did not hear any testimony or have before it other evidence supporting such assertions about DJJ. We therefore do not rely on these materials. (See In re Calvin S. (2016) 5 Cal.App.5th 522, 528 (Calvin S.) [" ' "In determining whether there was substantial evidence to support the commitment, we must examine the record presented at the disposition hearing in light of the purposes of the Juvenile Court Law." ' "].)

More importantly, even assuming such evidence was before the juvenile court at the time of the dispositional hearing, it is not our role to reweigh the evidence or to "second-guess" the juvenile court's judgment in such factual matters. (In re N.C. (2019) 39 Cal.App.5th 81, 87 [acknowledging evidence in the record from multiple witnesses that there is " 'more of a criminal element' " at DJJ but holding that this conflicting evidence "does not render the juvenile court's commitment order an abuse of discretion or warrant its reversal" because "our role on appeal is to determine whether the juvenile court's order is reasonably grounded in the record, not to reweigh the evidence in the record."].) As to the issue of family support raised by appellant, which we also address further below, this, too, is a factual matter left to the discretion of the juvenile court. We conclude there is substantial evidence of probable benefit to appellant from a DJJ placement, and the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in selecting DJJ as the location most able to serve appellant's best interests.

2. Inappropriateness or Ineffectiveness of Less Restrictive Programs

Turning to the second consideration of whether less restrictive alternatives would be ineffective or inappropriate, we also conclude substantial evidence supports the juvenile court's finding that the less restrictive alternative (here, primarily the youth center in Monterey County) would be inappropriate or ineffective. "Subdivision (e)(4) of section 202 of the Welfare and Institutions Code . . . specifically provides that . . . punishment may include '[c]ommitment of the minor to a local detention or treatment facility, such as a juvenile hall, camp, or ranch.' " (Calvin S., supra, 5 Cal.App.5th at p. 529.)

On appeal, appellant also argues the juvenile court should have considered "the Ranch" as another option, but there is no evidence that this facility was one of the proposed less restrictive alternative programs presented prior to or at the dispositional hearing. Our review is focused on the evidence presented at that hearing. (See Calvin S., supra, 5 Cal.App.5th at p. 528.) No information related to the ranch appears in the record here. (See People v. Waidla (2000) 22 Cal.4th 690, 703, fn. 1 ("An appeal is 'limited to the four corners of the [underlying] record on appeal.' "].) Moreover, the permissive language in section 202 makes clear that the juvenile court could, but was not required, to consider the ranch as an option. For these reasons, we focus our analysis on juvenile hall, the youth center, and DJJ.

There is no dispute that the juvenile court considered the Monterey County youth center, which the probation officer had recommended, as a placement option for appellant. The juvenile court was required to consider the probation report but was not obligated to adopt its recommendations. (See § 706.) The juvenile court determined the youth center was insufficient to meet appellant's need for more intensive programs, including those addressing appellant's substance abuse issues. Appellant does not meaningfully dispute these findings. We further note that the record also supports a finding that a more secure setting was necessary and appropriate due to appellant's escalating criminal conduct. As noted by the juvenile court, the appellant admitted to a serious crime involving the use of a loaded gun. "[T]he concomitant protection of public safety" is also an important consideration in the juvenile justice system. (In re J.W. (2015) 236 Cal.App.4th 663, 668.) The record thus contains substantial evidence to support the juvenile court's decision to commit appellant to DJJ, rather than the youth center.

In terms of juvenile hall, the trial court did not expressly find at the dispositional hearing that juvenile hall was an inappropriate placement. Based on the probation officer's report, which was focused on the youth center as the alternative to DJJ, the probation officer did not appear to propose juvenile hall as a feasible alternative for appellant's longer-term placement. Nevertheless, the record contains substantial evidence supporting the juvenile court's implied rejection of juvenile hall as an alternative placement. (See Nicole H., supra, 244 Cal.App.4th at p. 1159.) Most critically, the juvenile court found that the programs available at DJJ, rather than those available at a local placement, best served appellant's needs.

In addition, at the time of the dispositional hearing on February 28, 2019, appellant had been at juvenile hall for approximately two months. The juvenile court reviewed the report from juvenile hall and heard testimony from the probation officer from juvenile hall. This evidence indicated that appellant was exhibiting behavioral issues to a degree that he had to be moved to a different unit. This evidence supports a finding that juvenile hall was an inappropriate placement for him. Moreover, there is no evidence in the record to support a finding that juvenile hall would afford appellant the type of comprehensive programs available at DJJ that the trial court found necessary to assist him.

Appellant's arguments in favor of alternative placements in either the youth center or juvenile hall focus on the geographic location of his mother, who lives in Monterey County, and who, because of her poor health, cannot travel regularly to a DJJ facility. We note that mother's health issues were not raised at the dispositional hearing or in the probation officer's report, although the report notes that mother is "receiving disability" and stated she "is 'really close' " with appellant. The record reflects that the juvenile court considered appellant's preference to stay "local" but ultimately determined DJJ was the more effective setting to better secure rehabilitative goals. The juvenile court was required to examine all the relevant circumstances in determining minor's best interests. (Greg F., supra, 55 Cal.4th at p. 417.) The record reflects that appellant had several encounters with the juvenile court system over the last several years while living at home and on probation, which further supports a finding that his current location was not conducive to his rehabilitation.

Appellant has included in the record on appeal a supplemental transcript and clerk's transcript related to the April 2019 hearing on his motion for a stay pending appeal. The Attorney General has not objected to the inclusion of these documents in the record, although they relate to events that occurred after the dispositional order we review here. We do not rely on these records in our conclusion affirming the February 2019 dispositional order, but we have reviewed them and conclude that they do not change our analysis.

The circumstances here are thus distinguishable from Nicole H., a case upon which appellant relies and which involved foster placement of a minor rather than a DJJ commitment. (Nicole H., supra, 244 Cal.App.4th at p. 1156.) In Nicole H., a juvenile was placed at a group home that was hours away from the juvenile's father's home, and the appellate court concluded this was reversible error because the record was "devoid of any evidence or reasoning supporting a group home placement far from appellant's father's home." (Id. at p. 1157.) The court in Nicole H., however, reaffirmed that "a minor's special needs and best interests may justify a distant placement." (Id. at p. 1156.)

Here, for the reasons we have already explained, substantial evidence supports the juvenile court's placement of appellant at DJJ, even though it may be distant from his mother. While the location and level of support of the juvenile's family is certainly a relevant factor for the juvenile court to consider, it is not the only, let alone the determinative, factor in deciding a juvenile's placement. Rather, as noted above, the statutory scheme expressly requires the juvenile court to consider other factors that do not relate directly to family, including: "(1) the minor's age, (2) the circumstances and gravity of the offense, and (3) the minor's previous delinquent history. (§ 725.5.)" (Greg F., supra, 55 Cal.4th at p. 404.)

Moreover, and unlike in Nicole H., the record contains evidence that appellant might benefit from geographic distance from Monterey County, given that appellant violated his probation by associating with another juvenile on probation. --------

Appellant also argues that a DJJ commitment was premature and improper because he did not receive any "graduated sanctions" prior to commitment. We do not agree that this characterization accurately portrays the record, which reflects appellant had previously been given diversion and placed on probation for prior crimes. The record shows that these earlier interventions failed to reform him and did not prevent him from engaging in further and more serious criminal activity. (See Greg F., supra, 55 Cal.4th at p. 418 ["Where the minor has previously failed in a series of local programs . . . statewide confinement in the structured setting offered by [DJJ] may decisively outweigh other considerations."].) Contrary to appellant's argument, the juvenile court did not have to wait to place him in DJJ until he received "multiple grants of probation and various rehabilitative programs." (In re Jonathan T. (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 474, 486.)

Finally, we have also considered the other arguments raised by appellant, for instance that his criminal conduct is perhaps the product of his immaturity, that we should recognize more recent developments in science that juvenile and adult minds are fundamentally different, and that his conduct "is not untypical of a child that age." We are not persuaded that on this record it is accurate to characterize appellant's criminal conduct as typical teenager behavior. As noted by the juvenile court, the attempted carjacking involved planning and deception to lure the victim into handing over her cellphone and then threatening her life with a loaded gun. Moreover, and most critically, applying the abuse of discretion standard as we must, substantial evidence supports the juvenile court's judgment that DJJ was the appropriate placement for appellant in light of all the circumstances, including his age, criminal history, increasingly aggressive criminal conduct, and the number of programs available at DJJ to address his specific issues.

For these reasons, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in committing appellant to DJJ.


The dispositional order committing R.W. to the Division of Juvenile Justice is affirmed.


DANNER, J. WE CONCUR: /s/_________
GREENWOOD, P. J. /s/_________

Summaries of

People v. R.W. (In re R.W.)

Oct 10, 2019
H046754 (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 10, 2019)
Case details for

People v. R.W. (In re R.W.)

Case Details

Full title:In re R.W., a Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. THE PEOPLE…


Date published: Oct 10, 2019


H046754 (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 10, 2019)