In a published opinion in In re Bianca S., D068942, the Fourth District granted habeas relief for minors detained in juvenile hall while awaiting proceedings to declare them wards of the court.
In this case, two 13-year-old girls were dependents of the juvenile court. At a residential placement, they knocked over a vending machine and took items from inside. The minors ran away, came back, and were arrested on misdemeanor charges. Probation overrode the detention risk assessment and recommended minors detained in juvenile hall because minors were dependents and their social workers were unavailable. Over the objections of minors’ counsel, the juvenile court ordered minors detained in juvenile hall and granted permission for their social workers to place them in an alternative location.
The Fourth District did not find an urgent necessity to detain the minors. “The allegations against petitioners concern minor property offenses; these are first offenses for both petitioners; and nothing suggests petitioners, 12-year-old girls, have the means or are likely to flee the country.” Neither the probation report nor the record supported permissible grounds for secure detention. Further, the facts that probation overrode the detention risk assessment and juvenile court granted their social workers permission to place minors in alternative placements once they become available strongly suggests minors were detained because they were dependents of the court. Therefore, the Fourth District granted habeas relief and ordered minors released to the county agency for placement.
Here is the decision: