In re Ernesto L.Annotate this Case
The occupants of a car shot at officers; neither was hit. Ernesto, age 16, and others were apprehended after attempting to escape. The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office filed a wardship petition with respect to Ernesto. A juvenile court committed him to the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). Generally, if a minor is removed from a parent’s physical custody after being adjudged a ward of the court, the dispositional order must “specify that the minor may not be held in physical confinement for a period in excess of the middle term of imprisonment” that could be imposed on an adult convicted of the same offense. If a minor is committed to DJJ, the juvenile court may set an even lower maximum term of physical confinement. The juvenile court applied Ernesto’s precommitment credits (over two years), against the maximum exposure term of 176 months, not the maximum custodial term of three years.
The court of appeal modified the judgment. When a minor is committed to DJJ, a juvenile court must apply precommitment credits against the maximum custodial term. Because the juvenile court would have set a higher maximum custodial term had it realized Ernesto’s credits would apply against that term, the court remanded. The juvenile court did not err by committing him to DJJ under section 602.3 and by relying on prior misdemeanors when calculating the maximum exposure term.