Shanea J., In re

Decision Date11 January 1984
Docket NumberCr. 43199
PartiesIn re the Matter of SHANEA J., A Person Coming Under the Juvenile Court Law. The PEOPLE of the State of California, Petitioner and Respondent, v. SHANEA J., a Minor, Appellant.
CourtCalifornia Court of Appeals Court of Appeals

Marilee Marshall, Los Angeles, for appellant.

John K. Van de Kamp, Atty. Gen., Edward T. Fogel and Pamela P. Cvitan, Deputy Attys. Gen., for petitioner and respondent.


JOHNSON, Associate Justice.

Appellant, (a minor), appeals from an order of the juvenile court sustaining an allegation of robbery in violation of Penal Code section 211. Two issues are presented by this appeal. First, whether a judgment sustaining a petition in juvenile court must be reversed for lack of jurisdiction on the ground that the minor was previously determined to be not amenable to treatment under the juvenile court system. Second, if the juvenile court conviction must be reversed, whether the prohibition against double jeopardy prevents the minor's trial as an adult. The second issue appears to be a matter of first impression in California.

We hold the juvenile court was indeed without jurisdiction over the minor and hence its judgment must be reversed. We also hold that since the proscription against double jeopardy does not preclude a new trial when a defendant files an appeal based on trial error, the minor may face trial in superior court.


Resolution of this appeal requires an examination of three separate petitions filed against appellant under Welfare and Institutions Code ("W & IC") section 602.

Petition number one, filed October 27, 1981, alleged that appellant committed burglary in violation of Penal Code section 459, three counts of forcible rape in concert in violation of Penal Code sections 261, subd. (2) and 264.1, and one count of forcible oral copulation in concert in violation of Penal Code section 288a, subd. (c). A fitness hearing was held, and on November 13, 1981, appellant was found unfit to be tried as a juvenile 1 under W & IC section 707. Thereafter, an adult case was filed against him which resulted in his commitment on July 12, 1983, to the California Youth Authority ("CYA") for a term of six years 2 against which he was credited with 391 days, for the sex offenses. (L.A. Case No. A380258.)

Petition number two was filed in the instant case on June 16, 1982, alleging robbery of Charlie Williams in violation of Penal Code section 211.

Petition number three was filed on August 10, 1982. It alleged a subsequent robbery of Williams, with a firearm use, in violation of Penal Code section 12022.5, as well as forcibly dissuading the victim from testifying in violation of Penal Code section 136.1, subd. (c)(1). Another fitness hearing was held, and on August 26, 1982, appellant was again found unfit to be tried as a juvenile. (W & IC, § 707.) We do not know the disposition of this case. 3

In the instant case involving the second petition, the People did not move to find appellant unfit to be tried as a juvenile. An adjudication hearing was held and on August 13, 1982, the petition was sustained. After a disposition hearing, held on August 30, 1982, appellant was committed to CYA for a term of five years.

Appellant filed a timely notice of appeal urging three grounds for reversal: (1) ineffective assistance of counsel; (2) improper exclusion of the victim's reputation for dishonesty; and (3) insufficient evidence of robbery.

On September 29, 1983, this court requested supplemental briefing on the issue of whether the cases of In re Dennis J. (1977) 72 Cal.App.3d 755, 140 Cal.Rptr. 463 and People v. Superior Court (Woodfin) (1982) 129 Cal.App.3d 970, 182 Cal.Rptr. 787, applied to the instant case. Those

cases held that once a minor is found unfit to be tried as a juvenile for one offense, the juvenile court system is thereafter without jurisdiction to proceed on any other charges pending against the minor.


W & IC section 707 authorizes the prosecutor, "prior to the attachment of jeopardy," to move for a fitness hearing. At the conclusion of this hearing "the juvenile court may find that the minor is not a fit and proper subject to be dealt with under the juvenile court law if it concludes that the minor would not be amenable to the care, treatment, and training program available through the facilities of the juvenile court."

In In re Dennis J., supra, 72 Cal.App.3d 755, 140 Cal.Rptr. 463, Division Two of this court stated at page 762: "When a juvenile court determines that a minor is not a fit subject for handling under the juvenile court law, it should not attempt to exercise or retain jurisdiction over the juvenile on matters then pending in the juvenile court, especially where the pending matters were part of the basis upon which the determination of unfitness was made." Thus, once it is determined that a minor should be tried as an adult, the juvenile court should transfer any pending petitions against him to the jurisdiction of the superior court. This is necessary to preserve the rehabilitative goals of both justice systems as well as to avoid "potential conflicts that could arise ... where two separate entities exercise concurrent jurisdiction over the minor." (Id. at p. 761, 140 Cal.Rptr. 463.)

In People v. Superior Court (Woodfin), supra, 129 Cal.App.3d 970, 182 Cal.Rptr. 787, the minor was found fit as to two petitions in hearings held on February 18 and April 17, 1981, but unfit with respect to a third petition in a hearing held on May 22, 1981. The court stated at page 975: "[P]etitioner is correct in contending the case of In re Dennis J., supra, 72 Cal.App.3d 755 ... requires that once a juvenile court determines a minor is not amenable to treatment under the juvenile court system as to some crimes, he cannot be held under the jurisdiction of the juvenile court for treatment as to other crimes." (See also Hicks, Here's Looking At You, Kid: Prosecutors In The Juvenile Court Process (1978) 5 Pepperdine L.Rev. 741, 758, fn. 48.) 4 In Woodfin, all of the minor's offenses were part of "a crime 'spree,' when [he] and two others terrorized a residential area of Sacramento ... between January 1 and January 10, 1981, by forcing themselves into houses after ringing the doorbells, and committing robberies, assaults and sexual crimes on the residents." (People v. Superior Court (Woodfin), supra, 129 Cal.App.3d 970, 975, 182 Cal.Rptr. 787.)

We do not believe that the fact that the earlier sex offenses alleged in petition number one are unrelated to the present petition distinguishes Woodfin or Dennis J. from the situation here, especially since the victim of the robbery alleged in this case was also the victim of the robbery and intimidation alleged in the third petition as to which appellant was again found unfit.

In Dennis J., the determination of unfitness was made on the last of three petitions filed against the minor. The court in that case held the juvenile court lacked jurisdiction over two pending petitions which had been filed earlier. Similarly, in Woodfin, the determination of unfitness was made on the last of three petitions filed. In the instant case, where the first determination of unfitness was made seven months before this petition was even filed We do not foreclose completely the possibility a juvenile could be found unfit on one occasion and then a considerable period later be found suitable for juvenile proceedings. However, that conclusion would have to be based on an express finding the juvenile had evolved psychologically into a person now amenable to treatment by the facilities available to juvenile court. Here it is obvious the necessary transformation did not occur since this juvenile was found unfit once again less than two weeks after his hearing on the instant charge. Thus the proceeding on this charge is bracketed by two findings of unfitness to be dealt with under juvenile court law. A fortiori, the juvenile court lacked jurisdiction over this individual on this charge.

the lack of jurisdiction over appellant should have been even more obvious to the juvenile court.

Although here the first determination of unfitness involved crimes unrelated to the instant case, the holdings in Dennis J. and Woodfin are not based on the relationship between the crimes charged. Rather, they are based on the reality that if a minor has been found incapable of being rehabilitated by the juvenile court system as to one petition, the minor is a fortiori unfit for juvenile court rehabilitation as to subsequent petitions.

The rationale for these decisions was stated as follows: "In exercising its jurisdiction the juvenile court cannot treat and rehabilitate a part of the minor while leaving another part to the rehabilitation processes of the regular criminal justice system. Either the juvenile court or the adult criminal court must deal with the whole individual." (In re Dennis J., supra, 72 Cal.App.3d 755, 760, 140 Cal.Rptr. 463; quoted in People v. Superior Court, Woodfin, supra, 129 Cal.App.3d 970, 975, 182 Cal.Rptr. 787.) At a fitness hearing under W & IC section 707, the primary focus is the nature of the minor's amenability to rehabilitation by the juvenile justice system and not the nature of the pending charges. Dennis J. and Woodfin recognize the objectives of rehabilitation are frustrated when multiple jurisdictions exercise control over an offender. This rationale is equally applicable to the instant case and thus it was error for the juvenile court to retain jurisdiction over appellant.

Nor is the conclusion altered by the classifications and presumptions established by W & IC...

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