In re Bianca S.Annotate this Case
Petitioners were 13-year-old girls who were dependents of the juvenile court. While they were residing at the Polinsky Children's Center, they knocked over a vending machine and took items from inside it. When staff confronted them, petitioners fled but later returned to the Center. Staff then reported the incident to police, who arrested petitioners and booked them into Juvenile Hall. The district attorney filed petitions in the juvenile court alleging petitioners committed two misdemeanors, petty theft and vandalism. The district attorney asked the court to declare them wards. The probation officer prepared detention reports recommending petitioners be detained in Juvenile Hall, on the unexplained grounds they were likely to flee the court's jurisdiction and such detention was necessary for the protection of person or property and of petitioners. The reports included detention screening forms that showed no grounds for mandatory secure detention and that petitioners' risk assessment scores did not warrant discretionary secure detention. Petitioners promptly challenged the detention orders by filing petitions for peremptory writs of mandate in the first instance directing the juvenile court to vacate the orders. The Court of Appeal treated the petitions as petitions for writs of habeas corpus. The Court of Appeal agreed with the parties that the juvenile court erred by ordering petitioners' detention in Juvenile Hall pending further hearing. The juvenile court made no findings regarding its decision to order petitioners' continued detention in Juvenile Hall. Accordingly, the Court of Appeal granted petitioners' petitions.