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In re Albert C.

Filed 7/10/17 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF CALIFORNIA In re ALBERT C., a Person Coming ) Under the Juvenile Court Law. ) ____________________________________) ) THE PEOPLE, ) ) S231315 Plaintiff and Respondent, ) ) Ct.App. 2/5 B256480 v. ) ) Los Angeles County ALBERT C., ) Super. Ct. No. MJ21492 ) Defendant and Appellant. ) ____________________________________) Like adults, juveniles have a due process right to be free from indefinite commitment if found incompetent to stand trial. In an effort to protect this right, the Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Juvenile Division, issued a protocol addressing the process by which minors are found incompetent and later found to have attained competency. The protocol limits the detention of incompetent minors to 120 days. We granted review to decide whether detention of a minor beyond the protocol‘s 120-day limit without evidence of progress toward attaining competency violates the right to due process and whether a violation of the protocol establishes a presumption of due process violation. Defendant Albert C. contends that detention beyond the protocol‘s 120-day limit presumptively violates due process, as In re Jesus G. (2013) 218 Cal.App.4th 157, 174 (Jesus G.) held. In this case, the Court of Appeal disagreed with Jesus G. and held that ―the 120-day limit on detention in the Protocol lacks the force of law and it therefore does not define due process.‖ We hold that although trial courts are not barred from adopting such protocols as guidance or as local rules, the Court of Appeal below was correct that the protocol does not presumptively or otherwise define due process. Further, we decline to decide whether the length of detention in this case violated due process and instead hold that any violation was not prejudicial in light of the juvenile court‘s finding of malingering. I. In June 2012, when Albert C. was 14 years old, the Los Angeles County District Attorney filed a petition to have him declared a ward of the juvenile court under Welfare and Institutions Code section 602. The petition alleged that Albert had threatened a public officer at his school in violation of Penal Code section 71. At a pretrial hearing, the court put the matter over and ordered that Albert remain in the custody of his mother. But Albert‘s relationship with his mother was turbulent — Albert had spent about half of his life in foster care due to neglect and abuse — and shortly after a second continuance, Albert ran away from home. Neither the probation department nor the department of children and family services knew where Albert was for the next six months. On February 13, 2013, after Albert turned 15, he turned himself in to the Los Angeles County Sheriff‘s Department. The next day, the district attorney filed a second wardship petition against him. The petition alleged that Albert had committed assault by means of force likely to produce great bodily injury (Pen. Code, § 245, subd. (a)(4)), battery with serious bodily injury (id., § …
Original document
Source: California Supreme Court